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Underwater Photographer Spotlight: Marc Henauer

By Scuba Diving Partner | Updated On January 29, 2024
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Underwater Photographer Spotlight: Marc Henauer

Marc Henauer lives in Geneva, Switzerland and began photographing his adventures more than twelve years ago on a trip to Kenya. He is most inspired by nature and does his best to capture the emotion he feels in his images. Always looking for new challenges, Henauer is very particular in preparing and planning expeditions to discover unusual places with unique experiences.

Jump to Q & A.

Mangrove Bush, Long Island, Bahamas

Henauer took 2nd place in the wide-angle category of the 2017 Scuba Diving magazine photo contest.

Photo taken at Mangrove Bush, Long Island, Bahamas

Marc Henauer

Behind the Shot

Title: Swallows Cave
A woman freediver swims in the deep of "swallows cave" at Vava’u, Kingdom of Tonga. This cave is absolutely amazing. More than thousands of fish live inside. They offer you a spectacular ballet in 20 meters deep water. They form giant arabesques moving around you like a big creature. It seems they are like the spirit of the cave. The contrast between the dark of the bottom and the light of the top make bright the fishes like stars. You can stay here all the day and appreciate the show.

Freediver in Tonga

A woman freediver swim in the deep of "swallows cave" at Vava’u, Kingdom of Tonga.

Marc Henauer

Q: How long have you been a scuba diver/what’s your certification level?
A: I've been diving since about 10 years ago and freediving for 6 years. Now I’m scuba diver CMAS 4* level and AIDA Freediving Instructor.

Q: How long have you been an underwater photographer, and how did you get started?
A: I was already passionate about photography when I started scuba diving. When I discovered the underwater world and all wonders of marine life, I saw an infinite artistic potential, like as if I was in a fantasy world.

Drysuit Diver

Diver giving "Okay" sign at the Verzasca Switzerland mountain river.

Marc Henauer

Q: Tell us about your camera rig(s).   Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
Housing: SUBAL CD5MII + DP-FE4 glass dome port for wide angle / FP-FC100IS flat port for macro
Lens(es): SIGMA EX 15mm f2,8 fisheye and CANON EF 16-35mm II f2,8 for wide-angle pictures. CANON EF 100mm L macro IS USM for macro photos.
Strobes/Light: 2 X SUBTRONIC Nova strobes (but most of the time I shoot with natural light)

Freediver with Bahamas Shark

Bahamas free diver encounter with shark.

Marc Henauer

Q: Do you prefer to shoot on scuba or freediving?
A: Even though I appreciate the comfort of making pictures while scuba diving, I prefer to photograph while freediving. For all the sensations that it gives me. When I do freediving photos, I'm more connected with all the elements around me. I feel like I am one with water, wildlife and marine flora, my subject and my camera. All my senses are alert and it increases my sensitivity and my creative spirit. Time seems to slow down. Freediving also represents a huge advantage for animal interaction. It also makes it possible to move more quickly in water, to be very reactive. This allows for very dynamic and sensational images. Freediving is an addictive activity. Photography is an addictive activity. Both together are a like drug that pushes you to surpass yourself.

Q: What is your favorite photo-sharing platform?
A: Facebook and Instagram are inevitable to reach a large audience. However, I have a preference for National Geographic Your Shot. Because National Geographic is a reference for photography, I target with that a professional public. I think it's more interesting for developing my activities.

Industrial Scuba Diver

Old Industrial Diver

Marc Henauer

Q: What are three of your favorite social-media accounts to follow?
National Geographic Your Shot | Scuba Diving Magazine on Facebook | Red Bull Adventure on Instagram

Q: What hashtag best describes your underwater photography style?   A: #free

Q: What or who inspires you?
A: The strength of nature. When I feel so small in the face of elements that I can’t control, it is the time I feel most alive.

Q: What do you love most about your work?
A: I love so much to prepare expeditions. Research the ideal spot, find an unusual subject. I take the time, repeat the shooting session until I reach perfection. I also like the unexpected, when nature do what you don't wait and that you need to make a picture with that.

Green Lake Scuba Diver

Gruner See (Green Lake) is a lake in Styria, Austria in a village named TragoB.

Marc Henauer

Q: What’s been the biggest challenge and/or your most rewarding moment?
A: When I won the 3rd prize of National Geographic Traveler photo contest 2014. We had very bad weather conditions to take pictures of “green lake” in Austria. However, the last picture that I took of this place was awarded... and then the lake was forbidden to scuba divers the next year, just mystical :-)

Q: What was your favorite trip and why?
A: Each new place that I am visiting becomes my favorite. It’s why I plan to visit new destinations every time when planning for my trips. The humpback whales from Kingdom of Tonga will always stay a great memory and the green lake in Austria is so unique.

Q: Where do you most want to go?
A: I am very motivated to travel around north of Europe, to discover the atmosphere of cold water and its strange creatures. Maybe I would take an underwater picture of monster of Loch Ness. But seriously I would like so much to freedive with orcas in Norway.

Marc Henauer Self Portrait

Marc Henauer with partner and underwater model Isabel Janevski

Marc Henauer

Q: Any advice for budding photographers?
A: To reach my goal, I can count on the support of my partner Isabel (Janevski). She is in turn model, buddy, photographic assistant or safety diver. I owe her a lot and without her help, my pictures would not have the same magic. My own advice, be cool with your buddy, you are nothing without him/her.

For more information about Marc Henauer and to view more of his work, check out his personal sites below:
Website | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn