Ellen Cuylaerts

Wildlife Photographer

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"I lost my heart to the island then and there."


"Exploring the boundaries of my comfort zone became my challenge after my father passed away. He taught me to never give up on dreams and to pursue them, if it means failure or success."


About the photographer


One of my dreams since an early age was photography, but budget restrictions induced me to turn another direction and I became a master in history and education while simultaneously I walked the IT path. Life happened and choices were made. Always looking for the positive in difficult situations I started homeschooling my two children because the traditional school system did not work for them. High functioning autism made them think outside the box and I was willing to follow their lead, letting go of all expectations. A new freedom was waiting and anything was possible. 

Soon after, we relocated to the Cayman Islands as a family. When being surrounded by 50 shades of blue tropical water, snorkeling and diving tends to become a passion. It did. But being used to multitask I picked up my childhood dream and started to take images underwater. Working on diving and photography skills I experienced the positive impact pictures could have on the mindset of those who were hardly in touch with the marine world. After a while I started to choose my subjects and trips in relation to the problems they were facing or the attention they needed and contributing to conservation and education has been my goal since. 

I do not document what I see, but I shoot what I feel, trying to capture a contact between souls in a different world. If I shoot from my heart, I hope I can project what I feel and experience on magical moments in the ocean towards a viewer. When preparing for a trip I study the subjects, the possible conditions and I visualize to be ready for the unexpected every second. My time in the water is a combination of healing, feeling and gratitude and being in the moment 100 percent. To bond with the animal, to master the light and to touch the viewer is where everything comes together. I hope my portfolio shows these elements. Enjoy!

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