Statement of intent by Laurent Ballesta

Let’s start by stating the obvious: I take photos because I’m a diver and a dive is always too short. A dive is only ever a there-and-back trip. So photos are a makeshift affair, a way of extending an all-too-brief submersion.

I also take photos so I can’t be suspected of making it all up. What I find down there is so unbelievably amazing, the photos prove that this world really does exist.

And I also take photos because it is a fantastic antidepressant. Sometimes it’s hard to see anything but the deluge of danger and disaster hanging over the marine environment… But in trying to exalt marine life, I hope to prove to myself, and prove to others, that it’s not too late, that there is still much to marvel at.

And I do hope it works because, apart from the enjoyment I get from it, I’d like to think my work has meaning. After all, there’s no harm in dreaming and a photo never polluted the ecosystem…

Bringing what I see down there back up to the surface: my photography is naturalist’s work – inventorying and illustrating biodiversity. But when passion gets involved, what I want to show is more than just what I see: I want to show what I feel.

Enfolded in that dim distorted light, a light that seems drained from giving life, I also want to depict the continuity between the light that falls from the heavens and the life that reaches for the surface, each nurturing the other. The light of day which turns into ocean life as though one had to die to

allow the other to flourish.

Well, in short, just to show life in its ecosystem.

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