In 1893, the biologist Louis Boutan (1859-1934), who studied underwater biology at the Banyuls-sur-Mer laboratory in the Eastern Pyrenees, realised the first underwater photography of history. It was in the Arago laboratory in complete immersion, with the help of a camera he made himself, that he succeed this achievement. After, he created an underwater flash system allowing to obtain underwater snapshots. He didn't stop there and he invented a controlled equipment intended to great depths. With the help of his brother Auguste, an ingenieur gratueted from Centrale, he created a weatertight steel to protect the camera. If you want further information on his work on the photography, you should consult his online book, The underwater photography and the progress of the photography, published in 1900.
The french ingenieur, Dimitri Rebikoff (1921-1997), specialised in the underwater take, experimented his inventions in Cannes. We owe him the first electronic flash and an underwater box for the miniature camera. Then he realized an underwater torpedo, little underwater vehicle with an electronic flash and a take weatertight steel containing either a photo camera or an 16 mm camera, depends on the model. Since 1959, Dimitri Rebikoff worked for the US Navy by continuing to developed the underwater take equipments. Massive progress has been made then by the french Office of underwater research, under the lead of Commandant Cousteau. That's how the troïka, underwater photographic or cinematographic sled, has been devised. But the photographic material was still very expensive, we had to wait untill the advent of numeric photography for this discipline to be democratise.