Olivier Jude is a Monaco-based diving photographer that has been taking incredible underwater shots since 2004. A member of Fédération Monégasque des Activités Subaquatiques and award winner of numerous international competitions, Olivier doesn’t work alone but together with a Monegasque diving model Sylvie Laurent — his partner and professional inspiration. In the interview to PURPLEHAZE, Olivier Jude told about his life on the Mediterranean coast, his history of success and inspiration sources.
How did you come to the idea to create diving photography?
Well, I was born in Monaco, close to the Mediterranean Sea. When I was small, I found it very nice just to open the window and enjoy the view. I also liked walking along the beach. When I grew older, I told my family: I wanna go under the water to see what’s inside! There is an Oceanographic Museum in Monaco, the more I discovered the exhibition there as a child, the better I realized that I want to try diving. I started working for the Monaco police department when I was twenty-one and I had an opportunity to do diving not as a part of my job, but that wasn’t my purpose, so I enjoyed it in my free time. My first diving trip took place in Egypt, Red Sea in 1997. And I started underwater competition in 2004: I went around the world many times with my friends, divers, however, my wife refused to go — she has never been fond of diving. In order to reassure her, I was taking photos during the trip to show her how beautiful the sea world is. That’s how I started taking photos professionally and taking part in different competitions.
Since your wife doesn’t dive, how did you get to know Sylvie and chose her to be your model?
While participating in different kinds of French and international competitions, I realized that I need a professional partner. You know, like in ice-skating, when you do things in a couple. I used to have models that assisted me but all of them turned it away very soon as the job was tiresome. So I was looking for someone more endurant, fearless, who would be interested in diving first of all. Sylvie attended the same diving club of Monaco as I did, I even saw her practicing — every day, during the lunch hour. One day I came up to her and suggested we could collaborate. By now we’ve been working together since 2009. I am really glad about that as Sylvie seems to be a perfect partner for me: she is strong, brave and always ready-to-help. We can rely on each other what’s really important. By the way, my wife who is a fashion designer creates haute couture costumes for our photo shoots. I am so lucky to have support of these wonderful women.
Diving is a hard physical activity. Still how do you manage to stay inspired during the process?
You know, since we are in the water that means that we want to go under the water. It is a bad idea to dive if you feel sick or in a sour mood. Inspiration often comes easily. When it’s sunny, I just look at the sky and think of the things I could do inside the water. Colorful fishes that we sometimes see on our way is also a source of inspiration. However, most of all I get inspired by new ideas. For example, Sylvie can suggest me using another colour for her costume or trying a different composition. During one of the recent photo shoots she was surrounded by a stock of fish. Sylvie was in the very center — it looked like a real circle of life!
Text \\ Yullia Kryshevich