The sea – a great textbook of life

As a marine life photographer, I have been taking photos and videos for coffee table books, children's educational books, and science television programs for over twenty years. I am an underwater photographer specializing in scientific areas. I work near Suruga Bay, the deepest bay in Japan, on the Pacific coast of central Japan. I have also taken numerous photographs in the seas of the Ryukyu Islands around Okinawa, the US West Coast, Australia and Southeast Asian countries.

The theme of my photography is "the preciousness of life". The diversity of life is immense, but people see only a part of it. Even after 20 years of diving and photography, I am still surprised by new discoveries every 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 showing people how precious life is.

Why are the shapes and colors of plankton, just a few millimeters in size, so awe-inspiring? It's because life is in its perfect state - drifting with the current in its natural environment. I usually spend about 8 hours a day - day and night - underwater, drifting and constantly pressing the shutter on my camera. My basic shooting method, especially at night, is to shoot with a fast shutter speed, controlling the depth of field in fractions of millimeters, always paying attention to the movement of the water around the tiny subjects. Shapes adapted to the living environment, fins and cilia in motion, and colors of the tiniest creatures, all for the sake of survival - each of these is the precious beauty of life born of necessity, which can only be captured with a camera in its natural habitat. How moving it all is can be conveyed to the audience by capturing and presenting what cannot be seen with the naked eye.

I had limited my photography and publications to the scientific community. 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 marine life and its unimaginable beauty on land.

April 2017

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