RON TAYLOR AM in clear fresh water springs, Ewen Ponds, near Mt Gambier, South Australia. A good location to check sharpness of camera lens underwater. Ron with his own workshop-made camera housing with Rolleiflex wide angle 6x6cm medium format camera.
Photo’s by JOHN HARDING for Peer Productions, Cairns, Queensland
click to enlarge
Underwater models of today might enjoy researching the films of Esther Williams. Hollywood movies based around synchronized pool swimming were big in the 1950′s and no expense was spared in their production. Esther was the queen of the era.
I spotted this poster at a town west of Townsville, Queensland called Ravenswood. It was 1978 so the poster is unlikely to be still on display.
Gina Taylor (pictured) and I did presented our underwater film show in the local hall that night, just for fun. The roll-up was surprisingly good for a ‘ghost town’, formerly a gold mining boom town.
A pair of hotels remained open, otherwise it’s worth a visit to see the main street with old shops with wooden footpaths, just like a Hollywood western movie.
Marina Kazankova is a Russian movie star and ‘champion free diver’ who also races sports cars. We hope she will visit us in Australia one day?
An Italian TV station has filmed her underwater, some clips are on You Tube.
Her website says she is a ‘champion deep free diver’. There is no doubt she is a champ at holding breath.
Australian girls were ‘held back’ – none encouraged to try deep free diving in the 1970′s and eighties. Why? It’s a question we can now ask ourselves. There was no reason except the guys just didn’t think about it and there was no promotion for it to happen.
An example of how promotion works is the Luc Besson movie The Big Blue which sparked greater interest in extreme breath holding underwater.
(Another fine film by the same film maker is Atlantis. Fabulous underwater scenes yet the film failed miserably in cinemas).
Our friend Ron Isbell took us to the northern side of Lady Musgrave Island. Perfect conditions but with a lot of dead plankton or coral spawn on the surface. It must be good food for manta rays. There was a line of them swimming in rotation over perhaps one kilometer there and back.
How many? A dozen – maybe as many as twenty.
What makes a good underwater model? Christine Danaher is one of the best. A diminutive figure is a good start although some scuba tanks can appear huge. We have an extensive collection of Christine D. pictures and some excellent underwater 16mm film footage.
A loving attitude toward animals, especially underwater is another good point. This helps to eliminate – or will eliminate fear.
A disposition that accepts certain discomforts – wet hair, cold water, rough sea and all the rest requires a tough girl.
The new additions to the world of underwater modeling are breath-hold free divers. Nadine Werner (Germany) for example is reported to hold her breath while swimming/diving for a remarkable four minutes.
There is a stunning blonde Russian actress, still in her twenties who set a world depth record for free diving some years ago. Check You Tube videos under “mermaids” for a host of lovelies with good lungs.
My mistake, this looks like Christine Danaher but is one of the pictures by our good friend (the late) Irvin Rockman, taken in New Guinea, featuring model Kirtley Leigh Paine. I should have spotted the difference with her wet suit. It’s a fine picture – but not mine!! The following picture is: