Under the Sea With Joe Pugliese and the Cousteaus for Town & Country
Joe Pugliese forayed into uncharted territory for Town & Country's Philanthropy Issue, capturing Céline and Fabien Cousteau at the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk, Connecticut.
"Every shoot sticks with me in one way or another, but a project like this is above and beyond," Pugliese remarked. "It was special to do something I've never done before – make pictures of people underwater – and given the subjects, it's a glimpse at history. Céline and Fabien are the granddaughter and grandson of Jacques Cousteau, an iconic figure and probably the only household name from the maritime world ... and they're carrying on his legacy in such a wonderful manner."
Pugliese made a portrait of the sister-and-brother duo in evening wear for the cover, before the Cousteaus plunged into a 110,000-gallon tank containing four native species of shark. "Céline and Fabien aren't new to those types of sea creatures, so they hopped in, would dive under for a couple of frames, and then resurfaced because they didn't have air," Pugliese explained. "I think we did a dozen shots ... in the image used for the magazine, the sharks and bubbles are perfect."
He and his camera were positioned in an observation room on the opposite side of the glass. "We used our studio lighting with intense rigging to ensure the flashes would come in through the top of the water," he said. "Otherwise, we kept it as simple as possible to ensure that the Cousteaus were the stars of the picture." Afterward, Fabien offered some insight: "When we looked through the frames, he told me which were better from the diver's perspective, based on the accuracy of his form." It was an entirely collaborative endeavor, Pugliese added. "T&C's whole team was extremely involved!"