About

Cathy Church’s Photo Centre and Gallery was established at Sunset House in Grand Cayman in 1988. Her expertise revolves around teaching underwater photography and making sure divers enjoy their underwater experience. She has superb insight into how the students think and works to teach them individually in ways to which each student can relate.

The center offers a variety of products and services that include individual and group classes, photo workshop dive travel, fine art prints and printing services, and equipment sales.

 

We proudly support and are members of

DEMA (Dive Equipment and Marketing Association)

The Historical Diving Society

Natural Resources Defense Council

Sea Save

Cayman Islands Tourism Association

National Trust of the Cayman Islands

Divers Alert Network

The Cayman Islands Humane Society

Save our Leatherbacks.org, Shark Trust

Women Divers Hall of Fame scholarships

PAWS

Cathy Church

Cathy has been taking photos underwater since 1965. She is a pioneer of photo techniques and is in six SCUBA halls of Fame. Her work has been published in hundreds of magazines, that include diving titles, travel magazines, newspapers, and scientific journals. She is an expert marine biologist with a keen eye for animal identification and behavior. Her long history with cameras and diversity makes her proficient with the latest models.

Her commercial clients have included Kodak, Nikon, USVI, the cruise industry, and Atlantis Submarine. She works with ad directors to ensure photographs what the client wants, while using her own skills to enhance the image to better fit their needs.

Cathy has a ready staff to assist as needed to model, place lights, and carry cameras. She She knows the area around Grand Cayman to find just the right setting to meet clients’ needs.

Cathy is also available to travel to other locations, except to dive under the polar ice.

Her latest endeavor was photographing the famed screenwriter J.V. Hart underwater for a chapter in a new book on environmental photography.

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  • 2020

    2020

    Honored with the Pioneer Award by Beneath the Sea in New Jersey.

  • 2012

    2012

    Honored as a Diver of the Year for Arts by Beneath the Sea in New Jersey.

  • 2011

    2011

    Selected as Juror for the 2011 CMAS World Underwater Photography Championship that was held in Bodrum, Turkey.

  • 2009

    2009

    Selected as Juror and chairman of the Jury for the Festival Mondial dl L’Image Sous-Marine (the oldest underwater film festival in the world) in Marseilles (previously in Antibes), France. She was also invited to present and to exhibit.

  • 2008

    2008

    Inducted into the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame. View Cathy as a Girl Scout and other historic images in this video made by Jack and Sue Drafahl for her induction. ISDHF Video

  • 2001

    2001

    Received the Paul Revere Spike award by Boston Scuba Show. This award is made using an actual railroad spike made in Paul Revere’s foundry. His standard US is stamped on the spike. Since there are a limited number of these spikes salvaged from USF, the award is a historical pleasure to have.

  • 2000 – 2008

    2000 – 2008

    Chosen to be on the founding Board of Governors of the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame, hosted by the Cayman Islands. She remained as executive secretary for another two years after her term was up.

  • 2000

    2000

    Received the prestigious “Reaching Out” award from DEMA` (Diving Equipment and Marketing Association) for her work encouraging people to enjoy diving. View an historic video produced for Cathy’s induction.

  • 2000

    2000

    She was inducted into the Woman Divers Hall of Fame  

  • 1993

    1993

    Charter recipient of the SSI Platinum Pro 5000 Card.

  • 1991

    1991

    Awarded the “Creativity Magazine” certificate of Distinction for best travel poster with her image on theCayman Islands poster “Wonderland.”

  • 1985

    1985

    Received a NOGI award for the Arts from the Academy of Underwater Arts and Sciences. She was President of the Academy in 1999 – 2000, and again from 2011 through 2013.

  • 1971

    1971

    Cathy won her first underwater photo contest while she was at the University of Hawaii. The photo was taken with a Calypso camera and a 1:1 extension tube made by Marker Buoy in Washington, and some type of flash system, probably a flash cube on a handle made by Underwater…

Staff

Herb Rafael

Herb Rafael and Cathy were married in 1991. Herb was the backbone of the development of the photo centre from a small basement shop that did not even sell film into a world-class, two-story camera store and photo service centre. He grew up in Brooklyn and studied culinary arts and hotel management before starting a second career in retail.

Although enjoying his retirement years, he cannot help hanging around the photo centre where he enjoys making sure that customers are happy with their experience and is quick to answer questions and how best to fill their needs. You can often find him in the company of his very sweet Labradoodle named Jasmin, in the photo with Herb, although she is no longer this deep brown but is now grey with a few dabs of brown.

Theunis Neethling

Tee (as we all know him) hails from South Africa. He can do just about everything, especially teaching all levels of underwater photography with all types of cameras. He handles many kinds of repairs and fix-its, internet issues, and can even print and frame gallery images. He is a NAUI SCUBA instructor. He is truly a man of ALL trades and is always designing amazing new inventions to solve all sorts of mechanical problems. He is really a SUPER man!

Lisa Collins

Lisa has a lot of experience teaching underwater photography! She has lived and worked in the UK for most of her life, but has travelled extensively worldwide, journaling her trips in photographs and text, having been a major feature writer for many dive publications.

Lisa co-designed her own underwater photography courses for beginners to intermediates and for more advanced lighting techniques which she taught for many years in the UK as well as Underwater Photography Workshops around the world. She loves to teach and share her passion for underwater photography. Ask Lisa her favorite type of dive, and she will say ‘any!’ There is never a bad dive and never one without anything to photograph!

Lin Fronda

Lin is one of Herb’s retail angels who is also a graphic artist and event photographer. Originally from the Philippines, she spent two years working in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia before coming to Grand Cayman in 2006. She has experience shooting weddings, products in studio and outdoor events. Lin knows her way around Photoshop, Pagemaker, Freehand and Illustrator. She looks forward to diving more, learning more and seeing more of the world through her own eyes and camera lenses.

Maria DelasAlas

Maria hails from Manila, Philippines. She came to work in Grand Cayman in 2006. In 2011, she secured a post at Cathy Church’s as a Photo Centre Assistant and her interest in photography was sparked. She earned her Divemaster certification in 2013. Maria is now our expert on how to take stunning photos  of tiny creatures that are barley visible using just her Olympus TG6. In her spare time, she enjoys working in her garden.

Javon Watler-Christian

Javon is our Caymanian Track and Field super star! He competed all over the world and held the Cayman National High-Jump record for two years! He has joined Cathy Church as a valuable team member in our Printing and Framing Department.

Dayli Gonzalez

Dayli has experience at shooting all kinds of family events such as weddings, pregnancy and newborn photoshoots, sweet 16th’s, birthday parties and more. She is a very talented printer experienced at Photoshop and Lightroom and specializing in colour matching and making your old image look really good by reconstruction. Dayli is excited to learn more about the wonderful world of photography!

Select Articles by Cathy Church

 
 

Swimming Against the Tide by Jim Cornfield: Biography of Cathy Church's Work

 

Swimming Against the Tide by Jim Cornfield: Biography of Cathy Church's Work

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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