Jett Britnell is an internationally published scuba diving photojournalist who resides in Coquitlam, British Columbia. His work appears regularly in scuba diving publications and other media, worldwide. As a former Travel Editor for Northwest Dive News and a Contributing Editor to Canada’s Diver magazine, his editorial assignments have allowed him to plumb the ocean depths in the Maldives, Fiji, Indonesia, Palau, Truk Lagoon, Ponape, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, The Cook Islands, Hawaii, Cozumel, Baja, Bonaire, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Puerto Rico, The Bahamas, Turks & Caicos, The Philippines, Alaska, British Columbia, cavern diving on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, cage diving with Great White Sharks at Isla de Guadalupe, along with some memorable undersea encounters with Tiger Sharks, Wolf eels and Giant Pacific Octopus.
Jett’s first underwater pictures were taken in January 1983. He is 100% self-taught and actually learned photography and how to adjust a camera’s f-stops and shutter speeds 20 meters beneath the waves. He says, “Those early images would not pass muster today, but I was fortunate in that I had become friends with a few of British Columbia’s most talented underwater photographers such as Gordy Cox, Neil McDaniel and Dave Fleetham. They always provided encouragement and told me not to worry about lighting as that would surely come. They kept telling me I had a “good eye” for composition. Somewhere along the way I was accepted as being one of their peers. It was one of those things you don’t notice as it’s happening until you suddenly realize one day that you have figuratively arrived.”
While growing up he was drawn to watching scuba diving oriented documentaries such as The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau and the shark diving adventures of Australia’s Ron & Valerie Taylor. In 2010, Jett was welcomed into the distinguished ranks of the Ocean Artists Society, a unique alliance of the world’s top marine life artists, painters, sculptors, photographers, filmmakers, and writers coming together to use ocean art to inspire people around the world to a greater awareness of our need to protect and preserve our natural world. Once per year, all new members being considered must be nominated by OAS founding members and unanimously voted in to become an official member. It is an honor to be part of an organization that includes several of my peers along with such world-renowned members as marine life whaling wall artist, Wyland, National Geographic’s, David Doubilet, marine photographer, Bob Talbot and my boyhood heroes, Ron & Valerie Taylor to name a few.
Jett feels fortunate to have the unconditional love of a great wife, Kathryn. She earned her scuba diving certification during a trip to the Philippines in December 2010. She now works as Jett’s underwater model on editorial assignments. Over the past few years, Jett & Kathryn have also been guest speakers & presented seminars at some of the largest Scuba Diving shows in North America, such as Our World Underwater (Chicago), Boston Sea Rovers and the Tacoma Dive & Travel Show.
Jett recently came across a quote by philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche. That struck a deep chord within him. Nietzsche said, "The essential thing in 'heaven and earth' is that there should be a long obedience in the same direction; there results, and has always resulted in the long run, something which has made life worth living." Jett believes that sticking with something for a long period of time, to purposely pursue a goal over the course of months, years and decades can reap great rewards for those who are willing to hang in there. Jett says, “I believe anyone with a modicum of talent and a lot of perseverance can succeed at just about anything if they are willing to practice a long obedience in the same direction. I plan to continue doing just that.”