About Ryo - Ryo Minemizu - Photography


In 1990 I visited the sea of Osezaki, with my superior at work who asked me to join his diving trip. This was my starting point as an underwater photographer. The world of simple beauty where fish and sea anemone were alive and moving just in front of my eyes was impressive enough to decide instantly to make it the topic of my life. I quit my job immediately, obtained a diving license and became a diving instructor.

The sea of Osezaki is a superb location, with a magnificent view of Mount Fuji rising just across Suruga Bay - the deepest bay in Japan, where a number of sea creatures grow thanks to the upwelling current that flows up from the deepest part of the sea when seasonal winds blow, mixed with nutrients provided from fertile mountains of Izu Peninsula. In regards to plankton, which I have been shooting for years, the sea of Osezaki is one of the best locations in the world with its natural abundance and suitable water conditions.

Plankton are intriguing and beautiful creatures. They symbolize how precious life is by their tiny existence. I wanted other people to see them as they are in the sea – that was my motivation for beginning to shoot plankton underwater, which is quite a challenge. Most plankton are so small and their movements are hard to predict. I have devoted my past 20 years to presenting their tiny figures, colors and textures to capture their vivid beauty.

It is difficult to encounter plankton to begin with, but I could gradually increase the probability of meeting them by reading the wind direction and tide of the day. At nights, larval plankton approach the coast and transform into their next stage. After numerous trial and errors, I have devised a lighting method that allows us to encounter such instances efficiently. I have registered the method– Black Water Dive®, and regularly hold events on applying the method around the world, to allow the divers to experience a new world they have never experienced before.

In the past I have produced technical pictorial books (see Bibliography), and published new discoveries and knowledge in papers jointly with researchers of the relevant field. Besides plankton, my photographing of crustaceans, squid and octopus based on expert knowledge, are highly appreciated by researchers.

Although I believed that scientific photography was the category for me, I came to think that I should share the preciousness and beauty of life with a wider audience through my work which I have accumulated over the past 20 years. I had never entered in award competitions or held photo exhibitions, but entered the 5th Nikkei National Geographic Photo Award for the first time in 2016. I was awarded the Grand Prix, which reaffirmed my belief that my photos should be viewed by many more people. Going forward, I would like to expand my presence by holding exhibitions, workshops, creating art prints and publish books globally.


Driver’s license /  Midsize vehicle up to 8t (Public Safety Commission of Japan)

Diver's license for Professional diving (National qualifications Government of Japan)

High-pressure gas production security responsible person license (National qualifications Government of Japan)

Nature guide in an national and quasinational park (Ministry of the Environment Government of Japan)


The sponsor companies that will support my activities and always share values.

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