Profile: D'Artagnan Kurt Amsler, Underwater Photographer Extraordinaire
Published by X-RAY International Dive Magazine
Kurt Amsler, winner of over 100 awards at international photo competitions and a world champion title, turns 60 this year, but you would never know it watching him mountain bike up a steep pass with his black Labrador running at his heels in the hills behind his house, a lovely home that sits overlooking the beautiful Mediterranean and a small picturesque village in the south of France. Kurt says he still goes on dive expeditions around the world, but now he is usually the most senior underwater photographer on the boat. It doesn’t bother him. He has two young kids (“I started late,” he winks), a lovely wife who is a doctor and plenty of spunk left for adventure.
Kurt explains the humble beginnings of his love for the sea and underwater photography, which began in, of all places, land-locked Switzerland, where he was born and raised near Lake Zurich. At the time, no one dived in Switzerland. There were no dive shops or divers. So, Kurt, the adventurous and resourceful ten-year-old boy that he was, inspired by the books of underwater legend Hans Hass, devised his own underwater breathing apparatus with the help of some friends and the local bike shop, the owner of which loaned the use of the shop’s bicycle pump to Kurt on Saturdays. Needles to say, no busted bicycle tires in town could be filled on those days when Kurt was using the pump for his underwater expeditions into the local lake... It was a small sacrifice to make for science.