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The best smiles may be all wet (2)

By Shi Yingying (China Daily)

09:45, April 09, 2013

Artistic portrait photos by Wang Tao's Sparkle Underwater Photography studio in Shanghai. (Photo/China Daily)

Wang Guoxiang, a stunt cameraman from the Shanghai Film Studio, says those who don't know how to swim have more vivid expressions underwater than good swimmers.

"But with your muscle tightened up, the expression doesn't always look pretty," Wang says.

Wang says Shanghai Film Studio's pool has been rented out for commercial shoots such as advertising or an individual's portrait photo-shooting when his crew isn't filming underwater scenes for movies and TV series.

But he found it strange to see underwater photography, the hobby for scuba divers and photographers in foreign countries, turned into a commercial activity in China.

Wang predicts it could be fashionable for two or three years, and then decline. "Something else will come out to grab the attention of those who're always hunting for novelty," he says.

Now, however, more than 1,000 Shanghainese have flocked to Wang Tao's Sparkle Underwater Photography studio in less than four months' time.

"It's a very competitive industry as we're offering a similar service to the same niche market," says Wang, who claimed a dozen counterparts pretended to be customers and came to his studio to steal ideas last year.

Prices for a set of underwater photos with a few costumes varies from 300 yuan ($48) to 5,000 yuan ($805), slightly more expensive than a portrait with both feet firmly on the ground.

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