Cotton Coulson, a former Baltimore Sun photography director, died May 27 in Tromsø, Norway. He was 63 and lived in Glasgow, Scotland.
Nathan Benn, a family friend in Brooklyn, N.Y., said he lost consciousness while scuba diving May 24.
"Cotton and Sisse Brimberg, his wife of over 30 years, were partners in KEENPRESS, producing images and documentaries centered on real people and environmental issues," Mr. Benn said. "They were together on a Lindblad-National Geographic Expeditions trip off Norway's northern coast when Cotton lost consciousness during a dive and never recovered."
Mr. Coulson was born in Boston and was a graduate of New York University.
"Cotton was an innovator and inspiration in visual communications for four decades," Mr. Benn said. "At age 21, he joined the National Geographic Society's photographic staff. There he met his future wife, Sisse, in 1976. Over the next decade Cotton's photographs of Kansas, Berlin, Ireland, Italy, Switzerland, and many other stories introduced a warm, smart, and elegant visual style to National Geographic."
After working at U.S. News and World Report, he joined The Baltimore Sun as director of photography in the 1990s. He later worked at CNET Network in San Francisco.
Plans for a burial service in Chatham, Mass., later this summer are incomplete.
In addition to his wife, survivors include a son, Calder Coulson of Marin County, Calif.; a daughter, Saskia Coulson of Glasgow; his mother, Mary Louchheim Evangelista of New York City; his father, Robert Coulson of Riverside, Conn.; two sisters, Frances Lieberthal of Cambridge, Mass., and Deirdre Mcnab of Winter Park, Fla.; and three half brothers, Crocker Coulson, Cromwell Coulson and Christopher Coulson, all of the New York area.