Above And Below The Water

The Art Of The Lens

Artistry In Wood

​Matthew D'Avella 

When I am not at my woodshop chances are I have a camera in my hand. I began my scuba diving career in 1989 and began filming and photographing reef animals of the Kona coast in 1994. January of 2000 marked the beginning of my career filming and photographing deep water gelatinous animals. My film titled “Pelagic Magic” is about the open ocean deep water gelatinous animals that come to the surface under the cover of darkness. Drift diving on scuba after dark, 30 feet below the surface of the open ocean in water more than a mile deep and several miles from shore is a constant test of a cameraman’s nerve and patience, but the mystical movements by the strangest animals in this liquid dreamscape feeds an ever growing addiction to this thrill ride in our planets final frontier.


While working on an underwater film shoot in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, I fell in love with photographing seabirds. Since 2004 my library of seabird photographs has grown to over 20,000 images and is comprised mostly of courting, nesting, hunting, and feeding behaviors. For the last several years I have put together an extensive seabird and deep water gelatinous animal presentation for my toughest critics, eighth grade science students.


I have worked as an underwater cameraman, naturalist, and guide, for the BBC Natural History Unit, Discovery Channel, Jean Michael Cousteau, and numerous independent films; as well as co-authored several scientific papers on larval fish. My work is featured at several natural history museums including the Australia Museum, Natural History Museum or North Carolina, and the Smithsonian.