We owe the first spectacular underwater photographs to Austrian zoologist Hans Hass, who introduced the general public to the underwater world for the first time in the 1940s. Who was this adventurer and film-maker?

Hans Hass was one of the inventors of underwater photography in the 1940s. His colour photos of coral reefs and fearsome sharks introduced the underwater world to a wide audience for the first time. In his 1949 film “Menschen und Haie” (Humans and Sharks), he portrayed sharks as harmless sea creatures rather than clichéd man-eating monsters. A trip to the French Riviera as a young man sparked Hass’ enthusiasm for the underwater world. He made himself an underwater camera and observed sea animals in their natural environment as a free-swimming diver. This was a radical new approach to marine research that allowed completely new observations to be made. But how did a young man from Vienna end up making a groundbreaking career for himself as a diver, film-maker and zoologist – at the beginning of World War II at that? And what role did Hass’ wife Lotte play – the first woman to take on the male-dominated underwater world? The documentary offers some fascinating insights into Hans Hass’ life and work. Producing over 70 films and inventing numerous technologies, Hass paved the way for all underwater film-makers who followed him.