a crab with blue legs on the concrete outdoors
June 26, 2024

Photographer Margaret Crosby Embeds with Chefs Brigade Team

“How did you end up creating a career from something you love?”

It’s a question that underwater photographer Margaret Crosby has been asked more than a few times, and there’s no quick answer. It’s more about self discovery, persistence and a little luck.

The Mandeville native has been working with Chefs Brigade (CB) for more than a year. Initially, she served on Kevin McCaffrey’s film crew that created the short film about CB’s immersive education program, Chefs on Boats. Most recently, she’s been embedded on Chefs on Boats trips, scouting and capturing underwater images that illustrate the ever changing environment and vast beauty of our Gulf Coast fisheries.

To capture these images, she uses a Sony A7RIII with an underwater housing and she then adds weights to herself and the camera, so she is scuba diving with her camera.

Crosby's work during a recent Chefs on Boats trip. Photo credit: Margaret Crosby

“Margaret brings a new dimension to Chefs on Boats, looking at it from the water,” says CB Executive Director Troy Gilbert. “We've had tons of talented photographers out with us, but, those photos have been limited to what's happening above the water’s surface. With her artistic eye and photography skills, we can now show what’s happening below.”

Crosby says she essentially grew up on the water–spending weekends in a duck blind or offshore fishing with her family, going on numerous Gulf of Mexico boating excursions with her grandfather, or anchoring off of the Chandeleur Islands and watching pelicans during nesting season. While her formal education was in psychology and geology, and she worked in marketing for a while, she kept hearing nature’s call. In her late 20’s, she gave up her marketing career, and traveled extensively through Southeast Asia and Mexico.

As Crosby describes it, she chose a path that took her to new places both physically and spiritually.

“I was on a quest to learn more about myself and the world around me, and that led to studying Ayurveda and herbal medicine,” Crosby says. “It’s like wearing a different lens through which you see the world. Everything can be broken down into elements, those qualities of elements and how they interact with one another.”

She studied for three years at the California College of Ayurveda in Nevada City, California, and then worked in an Ayurvedic clinic in Northern California. This focus on elements and interactions has heavily influenced her photography practice, which became her career in 2019 when she was contacted by curators of hospital art after seeing her work on social media. 

“It was the perfect fit,” Crosby recalls. “The ability for my work to bring a sense of peace and healing to medical settings means my art is serving its purpose. I have pieces hanging all over Louisiana covering almost all hospital systems in the state, from emergency departments to pediatric clinics.”

Photo credit: Margaret Crosby

For a while, she split her time between California and Louisiana, but in November of last year, she and her husband decided to make Louisiana their permanent home. And now she can spend her days doing what she loves, re-connecting people to the environment through her photography. 

“Our relationship to our environment is one of the single most important relationships we can have in our lives,” Crosby says. “I’m hoping to strengthen that connection through photography and telling the stories of others who are contributing to the conservation of this unique place we live in.”

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