The woman behind the lens at Seagypsea Photography, Pip Harwood is a self-taught underwater photographer and diving instructor based in Australia. With the ocean as her office, Pip travels far and wide to capture striking dreamlike shot of the undiscovered underwarer world...
How did you get into diving and underwater photography?
I grew up in a little coastal town in the north of New Zealand, it was a natural transition.
Describe your style of photography?
Unique. I don’t think I have a style - I just shoot what I think looks authentic and edit my images to represent the location and emotion associated with the photo.
You’ve travelled extensively: which has been your favourite country and where would you like to go next? And what’s the most remarkable thing you’ve seen?
The Cook Islands is my favourite so far. The water there is ridiculously clear and the lagoons are teaming with healthy marine life. My husband and I are eyeing up Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands this year. We are both dive nuts.
What’s your ‘pinch me, I must be dreaming’ moment?
Anytime I’m in clear, blue water.
You shot the cover of the Bali edition for the Lost Guides, what did you love about Bali?
What I loved most about Bali (other than the incredible Indonesian food) was once we got to the north, out of the hustle and bustle, and got to see and meet the local people. The diving in the north was insane. We dived down to a shipwreck called Tulamben wreck - it’s a shore dive, but is full of life and was the clearest wreck I’ve ever dived.
The northern islands of Sulawesi would also be my favourite so far in Indonesia. The life up there is incredible; the people are genuine and would give you the shirt off their back. The islands are self sufficient and they respect the marine environment as they know it draws in the tourists.
What’s your favourite thing to shoot underwater?
Reefs. I could sit and stare at a reef for hours on end. The calmer and quieter you are the more you see. If I had my pick I would only shoot on crystal clear reefs in around 28 degree water at about 5 metres in full sunlight – but hey, I’m not picky…
What would you say to encourage young women into photography?
Just follow your eye. Don’t try and be like anyone on Instagram.
What inspires you?
The ocean, nature really.
What was your plan B?
Become a pirate and sail barefoot around the South Pacific.
What did you want to be growing up?
It depended on the day, but I varied from pharmacist through to a vet – odd, huh?
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
To date, launching my latest business The Tonik. I travel a lot and am huge on natural health and wellness; I kept finding I couldn’t take my natural elixirs with me on my trips especially to remote islands. I wanted to find a solution to travel and wellness on the go, and so along came my idea for Tonik. At this stage we have two toniks – apple cider vinegar capsules and coconut oil capsules.
And what would you like to achieve next?
My husband and I have always dreamt and worked towards quite literally sailing off into the sunset. In the next 5 years we plan to buy a catamaran and set off around the south pacific for a few years. Camera and drone in hand – of course!
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Follow your gut instinct.
What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?
Take every opportunity that comes your way.
When are you happiest?
When I’m underwater, I can’t beat that feeling.
When was the last time you laughed out loud?
This morning – I work from home so I am the only one who can laugh at my own jokes. Someone’s got to right?
At hush we value female friendships - what qualities do all your friends share?
A love for travel and the outdoors. Honesty, creativity and a good sense of humour.
What are you listening to at the moment?
The Moana sound track – I’m obsessed.
What’s the one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?
I have size 9 feet. We didn’t wear shoes until we were about 12 as we grew up in a small coastal town and shoes were optional. I’m convinced my big flat feet were a result of running amuck barefoot for so long – they do come in handy in the water as they act as fins!
I’m off to China this month with The Tonik.
Not a physical location.
Over or under dressed?
Swimming pool or ocean?
Swimsuit or bikini?
An island with no wifi and crystal clear water.
Over or under packer?
Over, and over and over.
Desert island beauty product (we’ll give you sunscreen)?
A bottle of Tonik.
Salty hair remedy?
More salt water.
Never stop dreaming.
Can’t live without…