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by Roger Bansemer


Foreword by James Cameron

The epic story of the Titanic has fascinated me for years. In 1995, in connection with filming my movie, Titanic, I was able to gaze upon the remains of the stricken ship myself by being locked into a cramped submersible for long hours while it dove two and a half miles below the surface of the ocean. Using sophisticated remotely-operated cameras, it was possible to survey the interior of the vessel, including areas that had never before been photographed. More recently, while working on my IMAX film, Ghosts of the Abyss, I was able to mount a second expedition to the Titanic.

Seeing the hull of the Titanic slowly appear as one sinks through pitch-black water is an incredibly moving experience perhaps best communicated through visual media. I have been able to use film to tell the story while Roger Bansemer, who accompanied an expedition for RMS Titanic, Inc. dove in the same submersible that I used during my filming to communicate his own story through his art. One of the most important facets of this book is the way Roger has captured not only the physical aspects of the Titanic but the complicated and sometimes dangerous chain of events preceding each dive as well as the dive itself where for sixteen hours at a stretch 125 million pounds of water pressure squeeze in on the hull of the submersible. In addition to these tremendous pressures there are other hazards everywhere among the wreck such as cables and unsuspected debris that can easily entrap a submersible with little chance escape should it happen.

Being part of an expedition like this also entails a myriad of day-to-day activities. Bansemer takes the reader through the whole process, from leaving the port at St. Johns, Newfoundland, to resting above the site of the Titanic. His book is an illustrated journal and the first to offer a view of the real behind-the-scenes life aboard a research vessel on such an expedition. He invites us into the ship's galley when meals are being prepared, gives us a glimpse of unsung crew members whose steady work makes the mission possible, and then shares the excitement of the submersibles as they launch and dive to the sunken ship.

It was good to see my friend, Ralph White, among the faces in this book. Ralph, a submersible pilot and superb underwater photographer who helped film Titanic, was a vital part of this expedition and helped Roger understand and appreciate what an extraordinary thing it is to become one of the few people on earth to make the dive. I was also happy to see Anatoly Sagalevitch, who developed and pilots the submersible. Roger has captured his appropriately solemn demeanor while inside the Mir, something I, too, noticed during our remarkable days together.

Despite years of work in attempting to show audiences what the Titanic was like in its short life at sea and how it has been affected by nearly a century at the bottom of the ocean, my fascination with it has not waned. In fact, I remain eager to learn more and see it from other perspectives, like the one created in this book. Years from now, when the process of disintegration is complete and the remains of the Titanic have disappeared, Roger Bansemer's unique work will stand as a valuable record of the ship we both love. He has created a fine and important book filled with engaging artwork—another assurance that the legend of the Titanic and its now mythic status will endure.

James Cameron