David Doubilet was born on August 28, 1946, in New York City. He began snorkeling at the age of eight in the cold, green seas off the northern New Jersey coast. By the age of thirteen, he was taking black and white pictures above and below the sea with his first camera – a pre-war Leica. Parts of summer and winter vacations were spent at Small Hope Bay Lodge on Andros Island in the Bahamas. He worked as a diving guide and on days off would take his camera. Doubilet later spent several summers working as a diver and photographer for the Sandy Hook Marine Laboratories in New Jersey.
He is presently a Contract Freelance Photographer for the National Geographic Society where he has been steadily working for twenty-seven years. In 1965 Doubilet began studying film and journalism at Boston University’s College of Communication. He majored in still photography and graduated in 1970 with a Bachelor of Science degree. In 1988 he received their Distinguished Alumni of the Year award.
During the summer of 1966, he attended a pilot course in underwater photography at the Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, California. Doubilet’s first work for National Geographic Magazine was published in 1972. Since then, as a Contract Photographer for NGM, he has produced over fifty stories for the magazine, in recent years adding author to his credit line of photographer. His warm-water work has taken him throughout Indonesia, Micronesia, Australia and New Guinea in the Pacific; Sri Lanka and the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean; and all over the Caribbean. The Red Sea, his favorite “underwater studio”, has produced at least ten different stories for the magazine. Cold-water work has immersed him off the coast of England; in Scotland’s Loch Ness; into the teeming waters of the Galapagos; around the mysterious shores of Japan; and deep in Canada’s Northwest Pacific. He has also worked off the entire eastern coast of the United States – from Maine to the Florida Keys – and California.
Doubilet’s photography has won many prizes including in 1969 the prestigious “Sara Prize and International Award” given by Mondo Sommerso Magazine in Italy. He was the first American and the youngest person to win this award. In 1975, he was named “Diver of the Year” by the Boston Sea Rovers, one of the diving world’s most honorable organizations. He has also received several honorable mentions by the National Press Photographer’s Association over the last decade. In 1993 he was honored in France by winning first place trophy in the Professional Category of an international contest sponsored by C.M.A.S. (World Underwater Federation); and by appearing as Guest of Honor at the 20th World Festival of Underwater Photography in Cap D’Antibes. Although most of Doubilet’s photographic time is spent working for the National Geographic Society and its diverse publications, his work has also appeared worldwide in other magazines and books.
His commercial work includes several ad campaigns for clients such as Kodak, Fa Soap, Vitaspa, Seagrams, and Microsoft. He did the still photography for two films – THE DEEP and SPLASH.
Doubilet’s first book, LIGHT IN THE SEA, was published in 1989 by Thomasson-Grant in the USA. Foreign editions were printed in Germany, France, Great Britain, Italy and Japan.
Doubilet’s second book PACIFIC: AN UNDERSEA JOURNEY was published in 1992 by Bulfinch Press, received an award from the American Institute of Graphic Arts and went into a soft-cover edition in Japan.
UNDER THE SEA FROM A TO Z written by Anne L. Doubilet with photographs by David Doubilet was published in 1991 by Crown Press (Random House) and received notable mentions from a national organization of science teachers and a national children’s panel.
A popular speaker and instructor, Doubilet has appeared on the “Today Show” on NBC-TV and is in demand for his lectures and slide shows at universities, underwater film festivals and clubs (the Explorer’s Club and the Harvard Club both in NYC) around the world. In 1993 Doubilet broadcast a live underwater interview for National Public Radio from twenty feet deep in Ginnie Springs, Florida. In 1995-1996 Doubilet and his work are featured in a national advertising campaign for the Rolex Watch Company. From 1994 through 1996 he was the author of a popular monthly feature entitled “Magnificent Moments”, including text and photography, in Japan’s SINRA Magazine.
Light in the Sea, David Doubilet presents the photographer’s best images from over 20 years of underwater exploration, taking the reader on a journey through 7 different undersea realms.