André Musgrove’s ethereal underwater photos beg the question, “How does he do it?” His models stride on the ocean floor, glide alongside rays and sharks, and strike incredible poses amid the shipwrecks, grottoes and sculpture garden in the waters of the Bahamas.
The key to these indelible images is that Musgrove and his models are all freedivers. They’re able to hold their breath throughout shoots as deep as 60 feet and subject themselves to the whims of wildlife and laws of physics, particularly buoyancy. “You have to be fully aware and conscious of your body and the environment,” Musgrove says. Some shots require as many as 10 complex takes to capture.
Musgrove, 24, started freediving at age 8 and was taking shots of his dives a few years later. “I wanted to share my experiences with Mom and friends,” he says. He grew up watching the Discovery and National Geographic channels, but he wanted to create something different than just a photo of a shark or turtle. He says he feels honored to have since worked as a cinematographer for those channels; his work is behind and in front of the camera during Shark Week shooting. But it’s his creative images that have earned him a large following and acclaim worldwide.
What is your mission with your creative photography? I’m showing people that we can interact and harmoniously coexist in the marine environment without being invasive. We can work in tandem with the ocean and its animals to show people what’s important and why we need to protect it by showing them the beauty—as well as the damage we’ve done.
What is one of your favorite shooting locations? Thunderball Grotto is an iconic spot in the Bahamas and so beautiful. At certain times of day, the light beams shine down through the cave and pierce through the water.
André Musgrove’s A-List in Nassau
Twisted Lime Sports Bar and Grill: They serve American food with a Caribbean twist. Try the guava barbecue wings.
Tropical Gyros: It’s Greek-Caribbean fusion. They have jerk gyros with different Caribbean sauces.
Jaws Beach: This beautiful beach is protected from the wind, so you don’t get any big waves. You can frequently see a lot of animals in the water.
Clifton Heritage National Park: It’s a great place to watch the sunset.