Statement

The sea – a great textbook of life

As a photographer of marine life, I have been taking still photos and videos for pictorial books, children’s educational books and scientific TV programs for over twenty years. I am an underwater photographer specializing in scientific fields. My work base is near Suruga Bay, which is the deepest bay in Japan on the Pacific coast of central Japan. I have taken numerous photos also in the seas of Ryukyu Islands around Okinawa, US West Coast, Australia and Southeast Asian countries.

The theme of my photography is ”Preciousness of Life”. The diversity of life is immense, but people only see part of it. Even after 20 years of diving and photographing, I am surprised by new discoveries each time I dive. I believe it is my mission to share these discoveries and wonders with as many people as possible. And as an underwater photographer, I take pride in presenting to the audience how dear and precious life is.

Why are the shapes and colors of plankton as tiny as a few millimeters so awe-inspiring? It’s because the life is in its perfect status - drifting to the flow of the water in the natural environment. I typically spend about 8 hours a day - night and day - underwater, drifting and pressing the shutter button of my camera all the time. My basic shooting method, especially during the night, is to shoot with a fast shutter speed controlling the Depth of Field at fractions of millimeters, always paying attention to the movement of the water around the tiny shooting objects. Shapes adapted to the living environment, fins and cilia moving and colors of the ultra-tiny creatures all for the sake of survival – each of them comprise the precious beauty of life derived from necessity, which can be only captured with camera in their nature habitat. How moving the entire thing is can be passed on to the audience by capturing what naked eyes cannot see and presenting it in the photo.

I had limited my photography and publications to scientific fields only. But in the meantime, I wanted many more people to know about the impressively beautiful and small creatures in the sea. As my first attempt in this regard, I entered the Nikkei National Geographic Photo Prize 2016, and I was so happy to win the Grand Prix Award. Now I am determined to expand my expression, and would like to convey the mystery of the marine life and its beauty unimaginable on the land.

Ryo MINEMIZU
April 2017


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