Sublime is the word many people use to describe Tony Ludovico’s underwater photography. With a career that spans three decades, Tony’s path to world renowned artist has been one that he has charted his own. From the time he was a child he deviated from the crowd, pursued his passions and followed his heart. Ironically, Tony was raised in upstate New York and had very little exposure to the water until he moved to Florida after graduation. He immediately found work… and the Sea.
The restraints of the world had no chance against the magnetism that water had to his soul; so, when Tony quit his comfortable seven-year career with the railroad to frolic with his salty mistress, not many were surprised.
Tony began his underwater career as a videographer. His hobby while he was a victim of the real world was spear fishing. He enjoyed it so much that he wanted to find a way to share his experiences with others. Because having someone follow him with a camera was not ideal, it led to his development of an underwater camera that he mounted on the top of his head with a box containing its components nestled into a modified pocket on the leg of his wetsuit. This prehistoric system, dubbed the Activ-Eye, was what he used to film his first DVD called Spearfishing in the Palm Beaches. His hobby turned into a paying job when he was hired as the underwater videographer for the Television Show Reel Adventures. Tony wasn’t satisfied though until the day that he took his first underwater still photograph. He felt that a video or clip was easily forgotten, but a picture was tangible and remained in the mind.
In true Tony form, he strayed from the mainstream in his method of capturing underwater images. A bit of an artistic purist, he left anything that would alter the behavior or appearance of the underwater world on land and entered the ocean with only the air in his lungs and a camera with no flash. By only using ambient light and holding his breath for up to four minutes at a time, he is able to blend in and capture the sea life in their true form, behaving as they normally would; allowing him to show the world a glimpse of what it is really like to be the proverbial “fly on the wall” under the waves.
Years of hard work and perseverance have paid off for Tony and his dreams have come to fruition. The fine art and the fishing communities alike quickly took notice to his unique style of photography. The drastic difference in the audiences that his images attract is itself a conundrum, but is also a perfect demonstration of how Tony’s individuality shows through his art. When you look at Tony’s images, you are not just seeing a fish or a pretty reef, you are experiencing the pure and unadulterated underwater world, captured… one breath at a time.
-As written by Brooke Heddon