Australian film people spend a day at the beach ... in costume


(an article written for ... but to date has not been posted. sigh).

Rob Jan is an Australian artist, journalist, radio host and photographer who posts offbeat popular pictures on Flickr.
A set of strange hard hat diver pictures he has posted on the Internet photo sharing web service has begun to attractthe attention of divers from all around the world!
Zero G (Jan’s nomme de plume) has been fascinated with hard hat dive suits long before he decided to stage a sea side photo shoot with members of the Australian chapter of the International Costumers Associations in 2006. Two and half years ago, Jan posted the pictures he and his friends took on Flickr and since then divers have been raving about and freely downloading the pictures.
“It's amazing how popular that whole photo set has become,” Rob Jan told Diver Magazine. “If I'd known that real divers would be looking at it someday I reckon I would have taken a lot more care with making the cossie ... but such is life!”
“ The pics were taken at a couple of beach side themed picnics we staged,” he continued.” My response to the theme (which was something like 'Turn of The 19th Century Beach Wear") was my usual offbeat approach, which generally saw me dressed in something more exotic than what would have been considered 'normal' in the historical period.”
The highly “doctored” photograph set show a hard hat diver spending a day at an Australian beach in the Victorian era. The diver does everything one would do at the seaside back then, from riding a beach bike to wading in the water with three women in swimming gowns (shoulder to knee dress overtop of leggings). to taking a ride on a carrousel. But what makes the photographs noteworthy is that the diver is in full gear, enjoying his day in the sunshine, seemingly oblivious to the heavy brass helmet on his head.

The diver does go underwater ... to retrieve a deck sign from the wreck of the Titanic. He is photographed removing the sign and then again displaying it on dry-land to a shocked female bather.
Anachronistic touches abound, including a group photo of the hard hat diver and his friends aboard the “Minnow” -- the pleasure boat featured in the 1960’s TV show, Gilligan’s Island.

“Nope, I don’t dive,” said Rob Jan. “Just fascinated with hard hat suits as part of a general obsession with all kinds of protective body armour, including space suits and the like. I've read a lot of hair raising books about hard hat diving and of course saw the Disney film, 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea as a kid.”
“All the costumes were made by ourselves. The suit and helmet were all made by me. The helmet is actually papier mache, which is the last thing you'd expect to last around the sea but it really held up quite well over several years and a couple of different photo shoots.”
Even though the artist known as Zero G had fun shooting the pictures, it was also an experiment for Rob Jan to see if he could recreate a 19th century feel to his 21st century photographs. He told Diver Magazine that by using filters, altering the background of the pictures themselves and using Photoshop software, he was able to give an uberworld spirit to his Deep Sea diver pictures.
A number of other photograph series on Zero G’s Flickr site show the artist’s interest in aliens, sci fi movies and popular culture. His latest series of photographs is based on the movie Iron Man. The Deep Sea Diver series can be seen at:


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