Seth Casteel’s new photography book, Underwater Babies, not only celebrates portraits of adorable babies, but also doubles as a warning for child safety around water. Taken at underwater safety classes in swimming pools across the country, the book documents a cast of precious babies first learning to swim. Inspired by the alarming statistics of children under four drowning in the United States, Underwater Babies urges parents to teach their children to swim, while also capturing the sheer fun of being in water.
Over the course of the making of the book, Casteel traveled to ten different states to visit eighteen swimming pools. Each of the pools held important water safety classes, for infants and toddlers alike. During these classes, infants, under the watchful eye of their parents or an instructor, are plunged under water for a brief moment.
Casteel was on hand during this golden moment with underwater camera in tow, to capture the surprise, delight or disdain that each child felt. Shooting only four or five images at a time, Casteel ended up photographing 750 babies, before choose 67 of the best images to print in full color in his beautiful book.
Most of the children in Underwater Babies look as if they are squealing in happiness, some even smiling right at the camera which was only around six inches away.
Casteel hopes his colorful book of chubby toddlers and infants enjoying their first dip will inspire and encourage parents to take their children to swim class, to help prevent an accident should their child fall into a pool. The book is available as of April 7th.