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"44 years of diving ..."


"How it all began ..."

Gambier Islands, June 1988

The underwater cinema team, then led by Michel Deloire, left Calypso for a dive on the reef.
For this second expedition, I am still a photographer, and this morning I decide not to join them, but rather to cover a subject in the lagoon, on a pearl farm.
Maupiti, the nickname of the sailor, prepares the Zodiac and loads my diving equipment. We are about to leave when I hear Cousteau's voice calling out to me from the port passageway of Calypso :

"Hey there, where are you going?"
- Well Captain, I do my job and go to the pearl farm in the lagoon!
- You piss me off with your photos, take a cinema camera! "

There was a moment of silence and then I answered him:

"- I don't know how your cameras work, besides there isn't even a viewfinder!
- Like a machine gun »he replied, imitating the noise of the weapon by pointing in my direction of course ...
- And what about the diaf ?
- Put 5.6 and Telcipro will do the rest! "

End of discussion. This will have been my first and only lesson in underwater filming ! Needless to say, I had no room for error, this was my only chance to access the underwater image on the Calypso ...


Largely inspired by Captain Cousteau's Underwater Odyssey, Didier always believed from the age of 15 that he could join the prestigious Calypso diving team.

He began diving in 1976 in Vendée, France. From his second immersion, he takes a camera in a waterproof case and takes his first images of underwater life. Later, he chose the Glénans diving school to follow his training. Nothing like the Brittany waters to learn to swim! ... His Masters are called Roger Wegeile, Jeff Tréhiou, Jean-Claude Brive, Daniel Pierrot ...

A few years later, he taught underwater photography at Club Méditerranée and began to travel the world, the Red Sea, the West Indies, The Bahamas, Mexico, the Maldives ...

In 1986 the dream became reality as the real underwater adventure began.
During his job interview, Captain Cousteau asked him when he could leave. “Yesterday” answered Didier immediately !
Two days later and 16,000 kilometers further, he reached Polynesia and embarked on the Calypso for a first expedition to New Zealand. A voyage on the oceans of the globe which will end with the death of the Captain in June 1997.
During these 12 years, he worked the first two years as an expedition photographer, then took over the direction of underwater filming. He thus filmed the images on 20 documentaries of the series "The Rediscovery of the World" a series which shows the changes in the oceans since the Captain's first explorations.

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After the Captain's death in 1997, he met a young BBC producer, Mark Brownlow, in South Africa who hired him on the set of the Blue Planet series, produced by Alastair Fothergill and narrated by Sir David Attenborough.

For this legendary series, Didier received a first Emmy Award in Los Angeles in 2002, in the “Outstanding Cinematography” category.


Sir David Attenborough


02/06/2020 Didier Noirot - Keith Scholey - Alastair Fothergill

During this period, he also worked on films that tell the story of the discovery of the Lighthouse of Alexandria, directed by Thierry Ragobert and produced by Gédéon Programs.

Didier continued with Planet Earth and in 2003 co-directed with John Jackson La Bête du Natal , a documentary on the Sardine Run in South Africa.


In 2004 Jacques Perrin called him to direct the underwater teams on his film Oceans . After tests in HD and S35 mm film, under the control of Philippe Ros (another legend this one ...) the shooting began and ended 5 years later.
On this project, Didier brought back exceptional images, in particular a ballet of whales filmed in Rurutu in company of Yves Lefèvre and Denis Lagrange.

Didier gives us a remarkable style of underwater shots by filming long sequence shots very close to the animals.


The underwater adventure continued more than ever, since Didier collaborated on films produced by Disney Nature such as Grizzly Bears , Dolphin World and Penguins but also for the BBC Blue Planet II, Frozen Planet IIMating Game, National Geographic with Hostile Planet or Netflix with Night on Earth series .

Didier thinks that even today, a large number of behaviors in ocean life have still not been filmed. Have we only scratched the tip of the iceberg?

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