by Seth Casteel
(Little, Brown & Company, $21)
Reviewed by Larry Cox
Photographer Seth Casteel says his life changed forever when a little dog jumped into a swimming pool.
Casteel was born in Decatur, Illinois, and eventually developed skills to become a self-taught professional photographer. In 2007 — mainly because of his love of animals — he began taking pictures of rescue dogs in shelters to help in the adoptive process.
His business as a photographer was only moderately successful until he made a major investment, spending thousands of dollars for a sophisticated camera that could capture images underwater. After photographing dogs swimming underwater, he posted several of his images on the Internet, and they immediately went viral. When his daily hits surpassed 100,000, he compiled his better pictures in a book, “Underwater Dogs.” It became a bestseller and triggered a second book, “Underwater Puppies.”
In his third book, Casteel uses his camera to capture “Underwater Babies.” His new book is fascinating and filled with more than 60 images. The connection that dogs have with water and the incredible range of emotions they reveal during their adventures underwater are shared by their human counterparts.
Casteel points out that the main mission of his latest project is to create a joyful, whimsical series of images of babies swimming to generate awareness about water safety for children. Each of his photos was shot during an actual swim lesson, with each baby learning water safety and survival skills.
The resulting book is nothing short of astonishing.