ACE Marine Images
Founded in 1996, ACE Marine Images gained it's name from its founder Chris, and his parents, Ann and Eric Clark, who showed tremendous patience and support as Chris went from portrait to wildlife photographer to marine biologist and professional diver. Hence why ACE is always displayed as capitals, as they are in fact initials, Ann, Chris and Eric!
Arriving in Koh Tao in 1996 was a spectacular experience, no piers, few cars, fewer roads and very few people. This is largely responsible for the development of our heavily conservation minded approach to filmmaking, photography and life in general in this beautiful paradise.
Chris began his adventures on Koh Tao as divemaster, later manager, then instructor at Big Blue Diving, but his passion never lay buried and before long he had ventured out alone into the world of underwater photography once again. It was not long before he was guided into underwater films by his close friend and colleague Jez Tryner, of Atmospheres Productions. Dominic Reid and Dieter Dongphrajan, also pioneers in the area of underwater video in Asia, should be remembered here for their part in the growth and development of ACE Marine Images. A heartfelt thanks to you all!
The next step was training and we leapt head first into all the diving we could get, with help and inspiration coming from some of the world's greatest photographers and film makers, including the late Jacques Cousteau, National Geographics' David Doubilet, amongst others, and the greatest black and white photographer ever, Ansel Adams.
Inspiration and help was close by as well, with encouragement coming from local sources, as we endeavoured to set up Asia's first underwater film production company! Michael Spjuth of Big Blue Diving, Robby Donath, formerly of Master Divers, the late Mr. Ban of Ban's Diving, Mark de Burgh and Caesar Benelli of Samui International and Planet Scuba, Phi Wacharin of Crystal Divers, Jean Kingston of Kingfisher Diving in Phuket, and many others all gave us access to unlimited diving and constructive criticism as we brought in experts from around the world to help us uncover the secrets which make us stand out today!
Before long Chris was making films to sell to tourists and collaborating with postproduction studios in the UK creating Asia's first promotional films to try to repay the support shown by all those mentioned above.
The Goals of ACE Marine Images
Over the years ACE Marine Images have trained and employed many men and women from all over the world, and all walks of life, and seen many of them venture off on their own to far corners of distant lands to become successful photographers and film makers in their own right. Nothing gives us greater satisfaction!
When Chris started ACE back in 1996, there really was nothing like it anywhere in Asia, others had tried and failed and they even told Chris to guard his new found talent. Local dive professionals and international television companies were quick to recognise our new style, quality and dedication to getting that perfect shot. Despite all this, Chris wished to share his skills with the world, as those great photographers before had done for him and against all those in the industry who wished to keep underwater imaging to an elite few, he decided to start teaching others, and as he found those lucky few with a remarkable affinity for imaging underwater, ACE Marine Images grew, and since, many others have tried to follow in their footsteps.
The reason that ACE Marine Images still stand head and shoulders above the rest today is simple, the passion for the underwater world, the love of being able to share incredible images with others and the dedication to sharing that knowledge with others who believe in the conservation of the oceans as our most important global resource. Many of those who have tried to emulate or compete with ACE Marine Images have often fallen by the wayside as the focus has been on business, on money, on lifestyle, and not on the things that really matter in this world, like loyalty, and kindness to the oceans to which we owe our very existence.
So, our goals are simple, we wish to do justice to the marine ecosystems of the world, open the eyes of those blinded by fear or ignorance, share our skills with those who have similar goals, create new opportunities for people from every nationality, and create images which inspire the children of tomorrow to conserve our global resources! We are also dedicated to the promotion of sustainable tourism and conservation in our home, Koh Tao.
ACE Marine Images Today
The backbone of ACE Marine Images remains the same, we are still sending professional videographers out with all the islands top dive centres and resorts, to film their customers finishing Open Water Courses and fun diving.
This has been at the center of the growth of Koh Tao for the last 10 years. Our top quality daily films produce the best advertising for these dive centers and at the same time give the tourists the ultimate souvenir of their underwater experience to take away with them. Their videos are shown to family and friends across the globe, and those who have seen them have come to visit our paradise themselves, long before Koh Tao was on the tourist route or even heard of by most travellers and holiday makers and indeed before the internet became so popular!
Our unique dedication to the best training possible and to the production of high end daily films has ensured that Koh Tao has become a popular destination treated with respect and has allowed our staff to remain with us for extended periods of time in order to continue to develop and become broadcast quality cameramen and women, no other such company in Thailand has the same aims!
So in short, our daily camera crews become our documentary crews and work alongside those who they teach, those who have learned the skills from their mentors and the cycle of development and sharing of new skills and ideas continues today!
ACE Marine Images Staff
Andrew Keeler, professional photographer, turned underwater film maker, now our head instructor and most valued documentary cameraman, and General Manager.
Sonia Cork, our design manager, underwater film maker, technical diver and research expert, is there is help the rookies through the highs and lows of the internship and helps decide who is good enough to take the next job.
Chris Clark, the founder, who today focusses his attention on deep technical diving, documentary production and taking ACE continuously to higher levels of underwater imaging.
We have an extensive Thai staff headed up by Chayaporn Jaisue, and we aim for the future to encourage more young Thais to take up wonderful and exciting new careers with us!
Then there are many more daily videographers, freelancers, interns, editors, designers, musicians, and students, who are all expected to produce new and exciting creations which together make ACE Marine Images as great as it is today!
ACE Marine Images is a completely legal business operating in Thailand with the aim of helping to promote Thailand for her future generations!