As artists and photographers in our own right, John and I are always on the lookout for good art which reminds us of our passion for scuba diving. Throughout our travels, we frequently stumble across decent underwater photography – the kind that makes us comment “Oh, this is nice” – and then every once in a while there’s blow your mind awesome underwater photography which makes us want to shout out loud. The work of the talented brothers of C3 Submerged falls into the latter category. We met one C3, Dan Cesere, on a recent journey to Maui. Dan was manning the booth at a street fair in Lahaina. While Scuba Gadgeter John chatted with Dan, I wandered along the display of photography, perusing everything from the huge, stunning photo of the octopus printed on an aluminum sheet, to the smaller giclée quality prints of fine art photography. One of my favorites was an image called Vertical Freeze, a capture of a wave that looks like frosted glass emerging from the sea. Another beauty was one of the whale shots. That breathtaking shot of a humpback whale got under my skin. I could almost feel what it would be like to be in the water with a mammal the size of a school bus.
I asked Dan if he, personally, was in the water with the whale to take that shot. Turns out he and his brothers have done photography for the Keiki Kohola Project, a group of scientists, students and other volunteers whose goal is to study the behaviors of humpback whales in Hawaii and assist in their protection. His description of being in the water with a whale and having the whale sweep a dorsal fin within inches of his face and then move it up and over his head without touching him captivated me. If he is one of the few who is not only an incredibly talented photographer, but is also privileged to be able to dive with whales and can speak about it with respect and wonder, that’s someone I want to support. 20% of profits from the sale of images taken while doing research with the Keiki Kohola Project are even used to provide funding support to the project. Hearing that, I knew we wanted to write-up the brothers 3 on ScubaGadget.
As kids growing up along the coast in southern Maine, John, Dan and Mike Cesere began their scuba diving careers using bendy straws as snorkels and 3-liter soda bottles as scuba tanks. Working at the Fish Market in York Beach, Maine, the boys watched in fascination at the divers coming in with lobsters and fish. Knowing that their lives would forever be tied to the sea, it was then that they made a pact to one day move to an island and pursue their dream – to continue to explore their love of the ocean and share their discoveries with the rest of the world. After graduating from high school, they pursued their education at Northeast Prep Boarding schools, only to discover that the life they were being prepared for through the college system was not the life for them. Their ocean dreams continued to beckon.
The three brothers are 100-ton boat captains with thousands of hours of dive time, technical training with many kinds of specialized equipment and an abundance of passion for what they do. They can shoot any camera system, whether its video or photography. To date they’ve done interesting commercial projects with America’s Next Top Model, Scuba Diving Magazine, and Delta Sky Magazine, to name a few. The brothers also put together an Underwater Photography Gallery experience at the Ritz Carlton in Kapalua in the spring of 2011. The gallery consisted of several images printed on Aluminum sheets, mounted on special stands underwater in the pool and was truly a unique event, perhaps the only one of its kind to date.
Recently C3 was on a TV show called “Wild About Animals,” a portrayal of John’s and Dan’s underwater explorations and photography. They just completed a job shooting a fish farm in Kona. Imagine a cage of about 140,000 fish a mile off the shore in about 200 feet of water. Now imagine that the side of the cage is unzipped, you are allowed to enter with your camera equipment, and thousands of fish begin to “flash” you, rubbing their bodies against you to clean their scales. Meanwhile, big Gray and Galapagos sharks and huge schools of Giant Ulua and dolphins are outside the cage. Dan described that experience as “pretty awesome.”
Perhaps the thing that makes C3 so unique is their commitment to family and friends, combined with their passion for living their dream. Perusing their blog or their Facebook site, you can read about their various projects and diving adventures, coupled with updates on family functions such as cousin Amy’s wedding, their mom moving in with them for a bit, or Mango the dog. Reading comments like “Why aren’t the Cesere brothers with Lahaina Diving any more – we miss them” on scuba forum sites, you get the sense that besides being great photographers/videographers, the brothers are just plain nice and fun to be around. Whatever their secret is, clients and collectors keep coming back to them for more.