Exhibitionists·Video

Aquamen: Meet the orthopedic surgeon who moonlights as an underwater photographer

Taking photos makes Lucas Murnaghan a better doctor, and he's blowing up on Instagram too.

Taking photos makes Lucas Murnaghan a better doctor, and he's blowing up on Instagram too

Taking photos makes Lucas Murnaghan a better doctor, and he’s blowing up on Instagram too. 4:24

Doctors might have one of the most stressful jobs in the world — every decision that they make at work could be life-altering for another human. With stress and burnout being a very real concern for physicians, Toronto-based orthopedic surgeon Dr. Lucas Murnaghan discovered a way to cope: underwater photography.

But his pictures aren't your typical snorkeling shots. With predominantly athletic male subjects in his creative photographs — including dancers, swimmers and divers — Murnaghan has created an underwater world of muscular men who seemingly float and pose weightlessly under the surface.

A photo by Lucas Murnaghan. (CBC Arts)

The themes of his photographs run from fun pop culture references to sensuality to serious and thoughtful moments, and they've gained the doctor a loyal following on social media with well over 100,000 followers on his Instagram account. But for Murnaghan, who describes himself as a "classic water baby," much of the satisfaction comes from the creative process itself and reconnecting with feelings from his childhood.

When I move underwater all of the distractions, all of the demands, all the stresses of the world fade away for maybe as little as 30 seconds, maybe a minute — but it's that moment of peace that allows that clarity in order to create.- Dr. Lucas Munaghan

"Going back to when I was a kid, I can remember that feeling of being underwater and imagining different worlds," he says. "It was a place where I really felt an incredible sense of calm and quiet."

Lucas Murnaghan at work. (CBC Arts)

In this video, tag along on a pool shoot with Murnaghan to get an inside look at his process — and to find out how taking photos makes him a better doctor.

Watch CBC Arts: Exhibitionists online or on Friday nights at 12:30am (1am NT) and Sundays at 3:30pm (4pm NT) on CBC Television.

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