Steene, Roger C.

views updated

Steene, Roger C.


Home—Cairns, Australia.


Underwater photographer.



Butterfly and Angelfishes of the World, Wiley (New York, NY), Volume 1, 1978, Volume 2, 1980.

(With others) Reader's Digest Book of the Great Barrier Reef, Reader's Digest (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), 1984.

(With John E. Randall and Gerald R. Allen) Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea, University of Hawaii Press (Honolulu, HI), 1990, revised and expanded 2nd edition, 1997.

Coral Reefs: Nature's Richest Realm, Crawford House Press (Bathurst, New South Wales, Australia), 1990.

Coral Seas, Firefly Books (New York, NY), 1998.

Oceanic Wilderness: Mysteries of the Deep, New Holland (London, England), 2006.


Roger C. Steene is a naturalist and world-renowned underwater photographer. Steen has lived near the Great Barrier Reef in Australia for his whole life. For decades he has dived in that area and around the world getting to know the animals that live in the water and recording their lives and their appearance with exacting attention to detail. He has close ties to the scientific community and to some of the world's major marine biological centers and has earned respect for the breadth and quality of his work. Steene has never sought publicity but has been more concerned with capturing the finest photographs he can get, and he has been taking them for some four decades. His books include Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea, Coral Reefs: Nature's Richest Realm, Coral Seas, and Oceanic Wilderness: Mysteries of the Deep.

Although Steene's greatest knowledge is of the creatures around his native Australia, he has traveled the globe to learn about sea life everywhere. With his painstaking photography, he passes that knowledge on to others. One of Steene's specialties is the close-up shot. At times, he works on a microscopic level, revealing images from nature that are too small to see with the naked eye. His work has even brought him face to face with animals that have never been identified or named.

In his book Coral Seas, Steene shows the strange and colorful sights of coral reefs around the world. Some of the creatures that live around the reef are nearly indistinguishable from it, such as the seahorse whose rough skin looks much like its surroundings. Steene's camera captured glowing jellyfish, brightly striped crabs, starfish, and many more obscure creatures. The accompanying text discusses technical aspects of the photography featured, thoughts on the dangers and pleasures of diving, and possible strategies for conservation of the world's coral reefs. The photographs are described as "magnificent" by Judith Barnett in Library Journal.

Oceanic Wilderness was five years in the making. This book takes the reader to the various brilliant underwater habitats, including some in the Caribbean, the Austral-Indonesian archipelago, and the Western Pacific. The photographs in Oceanic Wilderness are described as "spectacular" and as having "a magical quality" by a Publishers Weekly writer. A reviewer for the London Times Online particularly mentioned the impact made by Steene's microscopic images, which bring some amazing life forms "frighteningly close to the naked eye."



Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, April, 1999, J.C. Briggs, review of Coral Seas, p. 1482.

Discover, February, 1999, Polly Shulman, review of Coral Seas, p. 94.

Library Journal, November 15, 1998, Judith Barnett, review of Coral Seas, p. 89.

Maclean's, December 7, 1998, review of Coral Seas, p. 65.

Nature, June 3, 1999, review of Coral Seas, p. 425.

Publishers Weekly, November 9, 1998, review of Coral Seas, p. 70; August 20, 2007, review of Oceanic Wilderness: Mysteries of the Deep, p. 63.

Science Books & Films, December, 1998, review of Coral Seas, p. 262.


Crawford House Publishing Australia, (January 27, 2008), biographical information about Roger Steene.

London Times Online, (June 26, 2007), review of Oceanic Wilderness.

Oceans Enterprises, (January 27, 2008), biographical information about Roger Steene.