Photographer and cameraman Wes Skiles, who explored, mapped, and filmed caves around the world for three decades, died Wednesday afternoon while on a dive near Palm Beach, Florida. He was 53.
Diving companions found Skiles unconscious on the ocean floor near a reef, shortly after he had signaled to them that he was going to the surface for more film. His companions pulled him to the surface and tried to revive him while rushing him to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Skiles was a long-time contributor to both National Geographic magazine and National Geographic Television, At the time of his death, Skiles had just finished shooting a scientific expedition related to marine life off the Florida coast on an assignment for NGTV. “The shoot had wrapped, but he stayed on with the researchers” to do more shooting, says National Geographic spokesperson Beth Foster.
Skiles also shot the cover story for the current issue of National Geographic, about the dangerous submarine caves of the Bahamas called blue holes.
"He set a standard for underwater photography, cinematography and exploration that is unsurpassed. It was an honor to work with him, and he will be deeply missed," said National Geographic editor-in-chief Chris Johns in a statement on the publisher’s Web site.
Skiles grew up exploring the caves of northern Florida. On its Web site, National Geographic credits him with developing and refining a technique for using multiple strobes to dramatically light the underwater environment of caves.
He was also the creator, director and cinematographer of the PBS series, 'Water's Journey' and his production company, Karst Productions of High Springs, Florida, directed and filmed all the underwater scenes in a feature film titled 'The Cave'.
He is survived by his wife, Terri, and two children.
Before she launched her own career, fashion and beauty photographer Kat Borchart spent five years as post-production supervisor for fashion photographer Dewey Nicks. “It was a huge game changer,” she says. “I got to see everything about what being a photographer is: promotions, treatments, pitches, managing the archive.” She adds, “When I went on set... More ›
The NewsGuild of New York, the union representing The New York Times staffers, told members in a newsletter this morning that it will fight The Times’ proposed 20 percent reduction in photo desk staff via buyout. “As the Times makes changes to become a more ‘visually oriented’ news source, it is simply illogical to buy... More ›
Reuters has published a message from Editor-in-Chief Steve Adler to his staff that outlines how the news agency should cover the Trump administration in a “challenging” climate. “It’s not every day that a U.S. president calls journalists ‘among the most dishonest human beings on earth’ or that his chief strategist dubs the media ‘the opposition... More ›