Being a free-diver means you have to adapt to the underwater environment far more than someone on scuba. It is about becoming a part of the element that surrounds you. Through this process of adaptation you become intensely aware of the ocean around you.
About the photographer
It puts your world into perspective, and it reminded me that we must do everything in our power to protect them. Being a free-diver means you have to adapt to the underwater environment far more than someone on scuba. It is about becoming a part of the element that surrounds you. Through this process of adaptation you become intensely aware of the ocean around you.
I suppose it was only natural that a wish to do what I could to help preserve this environment and its inhabitants followed. We launched Ocean Encounters out of a shared love for the sea, and have travelled extensively around the world to be involved in a number of shark preservation projects. Especially the large sharks can be extremely timid, making it very hard to get close to them on scuba. Many dives had to be done by exhaling instead of inhaling meaning you can freefall from the surface and do not need to fin. This makes the dive quiet and non-threatening, so the sharks stay close by. They sense intent, so the key is to hold back the urge to come near them, and find a way to simply »be«. When you are relaxed and a complete part of the water, they will allow you to engage with them, as you can see here with Pierre Frolla, who is the freediver caressing the shark in the pictures. I was giving some talks about our work and realised that I needed to begin to take photos myself, to record »my« moment.
To be able to show people images of my personal encounters with these creatures helps to change their perception unlike anything else. There may be fear initially, but in the end, there is awe. All my photos have been taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II, in a Hugyfot housing, a setup that is light enough to use when diving on a single breath.