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Artist Feature with Underwater Photographer Nicola Miskin

March 19, 2024

Nicola Miskin underwater photographer

Nicola Miskin is the underwater photographer behind the Jersey Stamps issue ‘EUROPA: Underwater Fauna and Flora’. Following on from the issues release, the Jersey Stamps team spoke with Nicola about her career and love of underwater photography.

A career in the making

Having originally gone to university to undertake a photography course, Nicola revealed that the majority of her coursework was landscape photography taken using a film camera. Though the film process was interesting to learn, she revealed that landscape images never truly inspired her.  

Nicola started her career as an underwater photographer in 2018, after she acquired an old digital underwater camera. As a keen swimmer, Nicola was delighted to use her work to capture the beautiful world beneath the Island’s waves.

In describing how she captures the underwater world, Nicola said: “I look at it from an art perspective as opposed to a scientific picture.”

Developing Skills 

Though she studied photography at university her skills with the digital camera are all self-taught. During the interview with the Jersey Stamps team, Nicola revealed that she had to develop the techniques and skills required for digital photography herself. These skills included developing the knowledge of using a computer to process her images, unlike with film photography where she was used to using a lab.

In terms of the main challenges of taking underwater photography, Nicola stated “A main challenge is not being in control of the lighting. It’s why I work at the surface of the water as there’s less colour distortion and more intensity of light. Also being thrown around in the waves whilst swimming, whilst everything is moving. The focus is knowing what I want to achieve and working out how to get it.”

Nicola has described her life motto as being “Eat. Swim. Sleep. Repeat”.

Not only will Nicola capture the beautiful underwater world while swimming, but she’ll also assess the bays at low water to see what life could be lurking around and ready to capture. One of Nicola’s favourite beaches to go to on the Island to capture her work is St. Brelade's as there are plenty of old sea anemones which come to life underwater. She described the bay at low tide as “Like being in another country due to the life found within the rockpools.”

Working with Jersey Stamps

As part of the ‘EUROPA: Underwater Fauna and Flora’ issue, Nicola went to twelve different locations across the Island to encapsulate the stunning underwater life found beneath the water's surface. She mentioned that one of her favourite subjects to photograph was the compass jellyfish, seen within the £1.65 stamp.

In terms of her experience with working on the project, she said: “Very exciting to work with the different mixes of seaweed and creatures. I used twelve locations to capture different fauna and flora. It was a fun project, but I had no idea what would look good on a stamp, so I created a gallery on my website for Jersey Stamps  to go through and choose from.”

Buy EUROPA: Underwater Fauna and Flora 

The ‘EUROPA: Underwater Fauna and Flora’ issue was released on Monday 8th January 2024, and is available online and at Jersey Post Offices at Rue Des Pres and Broad Street. Nicola has done a wonderful job of capturing the gorgeous underwater life found throughout the Island. Underwater fauna and flora that can be viewed in the issue, include Snakelocks anemone (60p stamp), Bladder wrack (1st 98p stamp), Common limpet (2nd 98p stamp), Compass jellyfish (£1.65 stamp), Flat periwinkle (£2.15 stamp), Sea lettuce (£2.95 stamp), Carrageen (£3.75 stamp), Great scallop (£4.85 stamp) and Velvet Horn featured on the souvenir miniature sheet.