December 12, 2014

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The Photography of Christian Vizl

Ever since I was a kid, as far as I can remember, I was attracted to the sea. I dream about what lies beneath the waves. I imagine what it would look like if suddenly all the water would disappear for a while, but all the animals and living creatures would remain at the same place they were, so I could then take a walk inside the ocean and see them all, suspended for a moment in time and space.

I still have that same dream, and I am very grateful that now I am able to live it every time I go down to the sea. I see my pictures, and realize they are the result of that childhood dream… beautiful and incredible marine life suspended in their natural environment and captured in a brief moment of time. They are my way of seeing this dream, how I perceive it and how being underwater in this magical world, in the presence of the marine environment makes me feel. It has been a fantastic journey of exploration and discovery, both outside and inside me, which I hope to keep doing for the rest of my life.

 

México, Baja California, Revillagigedo Islands. Silkie shark found during my safety stop at Roca Partida, an amazing place to see wildlife.

México, Baja California, Revillagigedo Islands. Silkie shark found during my safety stop at Roca Partida, an amazing place to see wildlife.

 

México, Pacific Ocean, 20 miles off the coast of Ixtapa. There are many wild turtles in this area, they are easily found when floating on the surface, and I love spending time with them in the water.

México, Pacific Ocean, 20 miles off the coast of Ixtapa. There are many wild turtles in this area, they are easily found when floating on the surface, and I love spending time with them in the water.

 

México, La Paz, Sea of Cortez. Sea Lions are very social animals, and can be very playful and tender among them, like this couple that where having a great time in a sandy bottom some 60ft deep.

México, La Paz, Sea of Cortez. Sea Lions are very social animals, and can be very playful and tender among them, like this couple that where having a great time in a sandy bottom some 60ft deep.

Photography is all about light, and in my opinion, it is the single most important aspect when it comes to creating appealing, inspiring and touching images. In my point of view, far beyond technical issues, what’s most important is how I apply and manipulate the light that’s available in order to create pictures with dramatic effect, carrying depths of emotion and using contrast and tonalities as means to emphasize form and structure of the scenery. I focus on the emotional impact of the final shot that will connect on a deeper level, with the people that observe these photographs.  Just as a poet uses words to create poetry, a photographer uses light to create images. So when I’m underwater taking pictures, one of my goals is to create poetic images through the use of light.

México, La Paz, La Lobera, Sea of Cortez. I spend a lot of time alone with this male one afternoon, and by the end of our encounter he was very relaxed and allow me to get very close to him.

México, La Paz, La Lobera, Sea of Cortez. I spend a lot of time alone with this male one afternoon, and by the end of our encounter he was very relaxed and allow me to get very close to him.

I try to capture sublime moments of the marine environment, the essence of being there, in that experience and in the presence of that particular animal, capturing their splendor and soul. It’s sheer beauty and poetry with images that inspire, make us vibrate through the beauty in every corner of the ocean, an epic sight that make us dream of a better world, where we value and care for all expressions of life.

México, Quintana Roo, Caribbean Sea, Near Isla Mujeres. Two giant mantas swimming towards me, they are one of the gentlest creatures that live underwater.

México, Quintana Roo, Caribbean Sea, Near Isla Mujeres. Two giant mantas swimming towards me, they are one of the gentlest creatures that live underwater.

Because beyond the issue of our survival is the issue of how we experience our life and how we celebrate it. And our experience of life is intrinsically linked to how we communicate and bond with everything around us, especially with all life around us. In my case, it’s the ocean and their living creatures that make me want to celebrate. So my photography is intended to be a celebration of marine life and the underwater world.

México, Quintana Roo, Caribbean Sea, Near Isla Mujeres. During the summer months, hundreds of these magnificent whale sharks gather in this area to feed on plankton.

México, Quintana Roo, Caribbean Sea, Near Isla Mujeres. During the summer months, hundreds of these magnificent whale sharks gather in this area to feed on plankton.

 

México, Quintana Roo, Playa del Carmen. During a couple of months each year, about 20 females of bull sharks gather in front of this tourist destination. Most of them are pregnant.

México, Quintana Roo, Playa del Carmen. During a couple of months each year, about 20 females of bull sharks gather in front of this tourist destination. Most of them are pregnant. 

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Christian Vizl was born in Mexico City in 1972. He has a degree in business administration and is certified as a diving instructor, cave diver, rafting guide and sailor. Christian was a member of CEDAM – a Mexican organization devoted to marine archaeology. He has lived in Germany, Akumal in southeast Mexico, and Australia. He has been a photographer since age 15 and took up professional underwater photography in 2010. His work has since been published by National Geographic, Sylvia Earle’s book Blue Hope, Ocean Geographic, and many notable international magazines.

All photos © Christian Vizl

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