Thursday, January 26, 2012

Russell Easton...of all the sleazy shark divers

Russell Easton's stolen shark attack image?
The dive industry is a funny place.

For the most part folks are content to experience the wonders of the undersea realm, rinse, and repeat.

Then there are folks like Russell Easton who are a newer kind of diver, ones who are seeking to "make a name" for themselves.

You almost can't blame small minded shark divers like Russell. For the past decade a few within the shark world have schooled guys like him with a never ending parade of stupid stunts with sharks.

We have all seen the images and sadly the videos too.

These shark stunts get picked up by the mainstream press, usually to the somewhat hollow industry member howls of, "we didn't know the press was that bad!" and then broadcast all over the world.

Guys like Russell here are just waiting for their chance to be a media big shot.

And they get it from this gal, Alison Smith-Squire, who is a writer, journalist and media agent selling exclusive real life stories to newspapers, magazines and TV. She owns the Sell My Story website Featureworld.co.uk, which was set up to help ordinary people, like our friend Russell, sell their stories to the press for as much as $9000 USD.

Not bad stuff if you can get it.

Problem with this months mega viral "shark attack story" featuring Mr.Easton is the fact that he allegedly ripped the images of him getting mauled by a Tiger in the Bahamas from another diver who was there on the same dive. The one who took these images of Russell in the first place.

It's a bit of an industry blow out right now.

You have Tiger shark image sets that malign a perfectly good and safe shark diving site, the shark attack subject which makes everyone involved look like rank amateurs, and the fact images were allegedly stolen, sold to the highest bidder, and then regurgitated onto the main media stage like the stomach contents of an overheated Andean Condor (Vultur gryphus).

By the way Condors are vultures that feed exclusively on rotted matter so we thought the analogy was spot on.

Is there a solution to this?

Probably, if we can get past the howls of "we didn't know the press was that bad!".

We might suggest that Russell appear on some sort of Banned Forever Shark Diving List, his dreams of going to Cat Island should be crushed, and if he ever finds himself at at DEMA with a name tag that says "HI, I'M RUSSELL EASTON," taken out the back and dumped into the nearest trashbin.

Hopefully one that is packed full with the stomach contents of several overheated Andean Condors (Vultur gryphus).

You get the picture, and sadly for the rest of us, we get to clean up what Russell's picture left behind.

UPDATE: We also called and emailed Alison Smith-Squire to ask her how this story came about, including the shocking images and storyline, here was her immediate response:


"Russell Easton signed a form saying he had the rights to sell the photos and you must take this up with him.The copy was read back to him and I spoke with Russell just 30 mins ago and he is absolutely happy with his quotes, I am sorry but I can't help or go into it any further."

Alison
01727 841811
07979 750616
Alison Smith-Squire

Featureworld Ltd
Registered in England no: 5826131

8 comments:

OfficetoOcean said...

That's a direct hit again!

This culture of using sharks to push a personal agenda, to present ones self as a dare devil ready to try anything to get the shot but at the same time dressing it as some kind of pro-shark media so the nu-wave post-sharkwater crowd will lap it up makes me bilious.

It's just bad diving practice undertaken by people who don't understand sharks, can't read shark behaviour and most depressingly of all, couldn't give a shit about either of those things. People who like to be called "crazy" by admiring strangers who don't know better, as you will no doubt know as well, these are the sorts that a lot of aspiring divers want to copy.

Nothing will ever be as bad as the guys play fighting and throwing those white sticks around there. Darwinism failed when it came to those tools.

I'm with you on this one yet again.

OfficetoOcean said...

That's a direct hit again!

This culture of using sharks to push a personal agenda, to present ones self as a dare devil ready to try anything to get the shot but at the same time dressing it as some kind of pro-shark media so the nu-wave post-sharkwater crowd will lap it up makes me bilious.

It's just bad diving practice undertaken by people who don't understand sharks, can't read shark behaviour and most depressingly of all, couldn't give a shit about either of those things. People who like to be called "crazy" by admiring strangers who don't know better, as you will no doubt know as well, these are the sorts that a lot of aspiring divers want to copy.

Nothing will ever be as bad as the guys play fighting and throwing those white sticks around there. Darwinism failed when it came to those tools.

I'm with you on this one yet again.

Shark Diver said...

Thanks David, gotta love it when things are so black and white. Wait a sec, is that some color on the horizon?

Damn.

OfficetoOcean said...

"Russell, a professional underwater photographer, from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, is due to return to Cat Island and photograph more sharks in April for conservation purposes and is looking for a sponsor."

What conservation purposes could possibly be served from photographs which will be no different to the thousands of others taken there? I would have thought angling for support to aid "conservation" initiatives could be hampered somewhat by selling photos to the media propgating a false media led stereotype of the animal you are claiming to help protect?

I can't help but read it as "Russell is hoping for a free holiday back to The Bahamas in April, so he can take more of these types of pictures and sell them to that woman that gets him in the paper."

DaShark said...

Punters are punters are punters - is anybody surprised?

I say, sloppy procedures

Shark Diver said...

Not us, and considering the track record at that dive site...seriously another set of images like these?

Anonymous said...

Hi shark diver ime Russell Easton I've had these images of the shark taking my camera for over 2years if I wanted to make any financial gain of them or wanted any reputation for this story do you think IDE wait 2 years by the way I did not have anything to do with the wording that was put next to these images I wanted an article that told about how sharks are attracted to electrical fields that cameras give offf instead the media looked at the images and decided to interpret what they saw and not the truth what happens I cannot take action for their interpretation ime just as annoyed as yourselves the way I have been portrayed in the media ime getting the blame for bad journalism and die like to personally appologised to Steven Anderson for the mistake I did when using his image of the sharks mouth and to Liz and Kevin sultan who I did ask permission to use their images in a conservation article and not this derogatory article which had been blown up by the Internet scumbags who have nothing better to do than label people when they don't know the facts

Shark Diver said...

Hiya Russell,

Thanks for the response. I am not in the habit of calling folks sleazy unless I have done my homework.

In your case doubly so.

This story caught my attention for a few reasons.

1. The operator at that site who you went with is far too media savvy these days to allow an image like that into the world.

2. Steven Anderson is one of the best uw photogs in the indsustry right now, and he too would never trade an image like that for a quick run at fame.

So the question begs how did that image and story end up in the media stream?

Why you of course.

Because I also contacted Alison Smith-Squire the week that story aired and she told me the following:

Russell Easton signed a form saying he had the rights to sell the photos and you must take this up with him.

The copy was read back to him and I spoke with Russell just 30 mins ago and he is absolutely happy with his quotes, I am sorry but I can't help or go into it any further.

Alison
01727 841811
07979 750616
Alison Smith-Squire

Featureworld Ltd
Registered in England no: 5826131

Yeah, that's the actual email.

So can you explain how that's NOT sleazy?