8 From The Archive

Dreamlike Photos of Pioneering Underwater Exploration

See early underwater photos from our archives.

In 1927, National Geographic magazine made history by publishing the first color photos taken underwater. After that, the magazine continued to publish pioneering pictures of the sea, including photos from explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau’s voyage on the research ship Calypso.

These images from our archives take you under the sea with some of our early deep-diving photographers. They also give you a peek at the lengths that these photographers went to capture their pictures.

Although the photographer on Cousteau’s ship went down with just an oxygen tank and a camera, some old-school underwater photographers had to awkwardly squeeze themselves into spherical vessels known as bathyspheres. Yet all of them had one thing in common—a desire to explore and document the watery deep.

Subscribing members can see more vintage photos in the magazine archive.

Follow Becky Little on Twitter.