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Master Diver
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first underwater photography book

Mon Sep 05, 2016 5:42 pm

I believe this is the first book ever published on underwater photography.

La photographie sous-marine et les progrès de la photographie
by Boutan, Louis, 1859-, Originally published in1900

I have a copy of the magazine article publish shortly before the book with some photos and text which I have seen several times for sale for ~$20 USD. I have only found two copies of the book up for sale and both were a bit out of my budget. The first was ~$500 USD. The second copy is curently on ebay with a price of US $3,456.49 ... SwIgNXmJoV

The book is now in public domain and can be purchased as a reproduction: ... 2012724523

The following online archive has legal downloads available for free in several formats:

If you view the online book in thumb view you can advance to the photos and diagrams and avoid the french language. The pages are high resolution so once you are on a page you like you can enlarge it for greater detail.
“A skin diver is a fellow who pulls on a pair of fancy swimming trunks, some rubber fins, a diving mask and canvas gloves, then fills his lungs with air and noses down into the ocean looking for two fisted trouble.”

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VDH Moderator
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First Name: David
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

Re: first underwater photography book

Tue Sep 06, 2016 5:36 am

What a great find! Thank you so much for drawing our attention to this book. The eBay seller of the antiquarian version also credits the book's author with the world's first underwater selfie:
It's wonderful too that those of us who can't afford such prices can still have access to the text and illustrations on the pages of the tome via a free downloadable and searchable PDF. This enables readers who don't know French to use Google Translate or similar to access the gist if not the elegance of the original prose.

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Master Diver
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Location: Cincinnati, Ohio

Re: first underwater photography book

Tue Sep 06, 2016 10:48 am

Fantastic, I wish that I had $3,500 burning a hole in my pocket, somebody's gonna get a rare and historic book.
Too DAAM Many double hoses, It's not a hobby, it's an addiction.

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Master Diver
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First Name: Dave
Location: Sitka, Alaska

Re: first underwater photography book

Tue Sep 06, 2016 2:42 pm

Only 20 Euro for the reproduction seems like a good deal. I'll have to check on shipping after work.

Thanks for sharing. :D
I do not believe in taking unnecessary risks, but a life without risk is not worth living. - Charles Lindbergh

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Joined: Wed Jul 19, 2017 11:45 pm
First Name: Miguel
Location: Santa Clara CA

Re: first underwater photography book

Mon Jul 24, 2017 10:37 pm

I'm actually looking for a coffee-table book about underwater photography. :D

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