Talking Sharks with André Musgrove
Shark Week 2021 is upon us! While this week is as exciting as it is mystifying and terrifying, we at GoPro pride ourselves on helping to capture the footage that fuels shark week.
We sat down with modern day shark whisperer and content creator André Musgrove to learn more about his passion for shooting underwater amongst predators and prey.
GoPro: Let’s start with the basics! Please tell us a little more about yourself.
André: My name is André Musgrove, and I’m a professional underwater photographer, cinematographer and filmmaker from Nassau, Bahamas. I specialize in photographing and filming human and marine wildlife subjects while freediving. I’m also a certified PADI Scuba Instructor, spearfisherman and private dive guide born and based in the Bahamas. I’m passionate about creating and capturing concepts with freedivers, underwater models and marine wildlife in unique marine environments.
There are three words that I’d use to best describe myself: efficient, confident and disciplined.
You live in a postcard, and from the outside, it looks like you have an absolute dream life! How have you balanced turning your passions into your full-time career?
I found my passion for underwater photography and filmmaking when I was very young. Growing up in the Bahamas, I frequented the ocean and spearfished with my father. Most of my friends at that age did not have the easy access to the ocean that I did, so picking up a camera was my way of bringing the ocean to them. When I graduated high school, I had deemed myself a professional GoPro HERO3+ Black user! I had no clue what I wanted to do career-wise, and I had no interest in going to college, so I focused on my two passions: diving and photography.
A part from working with my dad during the summers, my first official job out of high school was a photographer in the Underwater Photo Department at a local Bahamian dive shop. I was able to grow and hone my skills with more professional camera equipment, all while diving every day—up to four times a day—with a camera in hand.
My role included taking photos of tourist scuba divers while visiting sunken shipwrecks, coral reefs, wall dives and, my personal favorite, shark dives. It was also a great networking opportunity, as I was able to meet people in the diving industry from all over the world.
On occasion, the dive shop hosted different underwater film shoots, productions, TV shows and celebrities, and I always looked forward to being part of those projects. After two years working at the shop, I resigned to pursue my passion as a freelancer in everything that I knew how to do, including underwater photography, filming and as a private dive guide here in The Bahamas.
What originally inspired you to start shooting more underwater content?
What originally inspired me to start shooting underwater content was that most of the underwater photographs with people all looked the same. I wanted to create different concepts, but there was very little for me to reference. Now, I often find inspiration in things that have absolutely nothing to do with underwater or photography directly. I think it has made me a better creator.
You caught our eye last year when you became on of the GoPro Million Dollar Challenge Awardees with your stunning underwater shots. Since then, we’ve been constantly blown away with what you’ve captured. When did you first pick up your first GoPro?
The first GoPro I ever owned was the GoPro HERO3+ Black that received as a Christmas present in 2014.
You live a pretty surreal life already ... but, what’s next on your bucket list?
To continue to find opportunities to create more impactful and meaningful photos and underwater short films that will make a positive difference in the world.
Lastly, do you have any tips for aspiring underwater photographers or videographers?
I think what’s most important is to gain a wealth of underwater experience in a variety of diving disciplines before even picking up a camera. Learn from those whose work you admire, but be prepared to forge your own path. Diversify your skills so that you become as versatile as possible. Use whatever resources you currently have access to to make things work. Failing is better than never trying.
To learn more about ocean conservation and what you can do to play a part to protect, here are André’s recommendations. The following organisation are specific to the Bahamas and are organisation that André has personally worked with and believes in: Bahamas National Trust and Sharks4Kids.