Thomas Haider Underwater Photographer

I was born and grew up in Vienna, Austria. My father was a scientist in the field of medicine and psychology. When I was a young child our family spent a sabbatical year at the University California Los Angeles (UCLA), where my passion to the ocean developed, since I spent almost all the time with my mother at the beach.
During my study time in medicine and toxicology in the 1980ies I spent three months per year as a scuba diving teacher on the Maldives Islands. There I met the nature documentary producer and cameraman Rolf Möltgen from Germany. He inspired me for underwater photography and we cooperated in many worldwide underwater documentary projects e.g. BBC Wildlife and National Geographic. Starting with still shots for the filming scenes an independent activity as publishing underwater photographer developed.

My work should not only show the sheer documentation of life underwater but also incorporate artistic aspects. Impressive aesthetic underwater images should help to raise awareness for the stunning beauty of the oceans and to move the public to take action for the conservation of this fragile biosphere underwater.

My images have been published in many magazines, books and calendars, have been used in advertising and presented in many exhibitions all around the globe.
Besides many national awards I achieved with my underwater pictures four winning images in the “Wildlife Photographer of the Year” contest in London the so called “Oscar of Nature Photography”:
Year 2000- Category: Animal Portrait
Year 2003- Category: Underwater
Year 2010- Category: On Earth Award
Year 2013- Category: Underwater

Some of my earlier work is still represented by Getty Images but I am starting now to put all of my pictures in an own image library which will come soon together with a section of fine art print.

Currently I am realizing my experience in two different longterm photo-projects.

The one is an underwater photo book project about West Papua - the epicenter of marine biodiversity. The abundance and variety of marine life - particularly in shallow water at the immediate boundary to the rainforest, mangroves and
mushroom-shaped limestone rocks - is a unique feature of this „Earth’s richest seascape“. This particular topographic constellation gives the opportunity for surprising and stunning perspectives on the interface of water and land, which I want to present besides the common underwater photos.

The other is a multimedia project and initiative about the Urban Wildlife of my hometown Vienna - “Wiener Wildnis” (Viennese Wilderness). As a team member of this ambitious project I try to combine the underwater scenery of Vienna together with urban elements in one picture. Showing both worlds creates the feeling of connection between the underwater realm and our usual above-surface viewpoint.

The preliminary results of these two ongoing photo-projects are shown in the different Portfolios.