To catch a glimpse of submerged aquatic scenes through the eyes of an artist is to find yourself transported to a whole new world. When a deep sea diver is also a fine art photographer, spectacular images can come about, and that’s definitely the case with the work of Christian Vizl.
Born and raised in Mexico City, Christian says he can hardly recall a time when he wasn’t fascinated with the water. He says: “I dreamt about what lay beneath the waves, and how it would look if suddenly all the water vanished leaving in stasis all the animals and living creatures. In this way I could walk inside the ocean and see them all, suspended for a moment in time and space.”
“I have devoted my life to explor[ing] and contemplat[ing] the amazing beauty of the ocean, and it’s been an incredible journey that’s brought me a deep feeling of connection with nature, but sadly during my lifetime I have witness[ed] the ever-increasing devastation that we humans are creating in this planet. Today the world’s ocean is in grave danger: overfishing, pollution, plastics, radiation, climate change, acidification, and other human pressures threaten the fundamental nature of the ocean, and its animals are being push[ed] to near extinction. The time to act and reverse our negative impact is now, before it’s too late [and we risk] losing everything.”
The poignancy of this potential loss flows through each and every one of Christian’s reverent photographs, as if he’s willing the oceans and all the life within them to be frozen in one perfect moment in time so it can never be destroyed altogether. The artist says he hopes his images will be “a voice of the ocean and for the ocean,” helping people feel more empathy for these creatures and take action to protect them.
Christian travels all over the world to capture his images, and his favorite places are remote, wild areas near oceans. One of those spots is the southernmost tip of Mexico, very close to the border of Belize, with the Caribbean Sea on one side and the Chetumal Bay on the other, all surrounded by dense jungles. In such places, he’s able to observe and photograph such amazing sights as hundreds of gigantic tarpon fish.
There’s a sense of tranquility in each of his images, particularly those in which humans interact with aquatic life, allowing viewers to place themselves inside the shots and imagine what it would be like to float alongside an enormous whale, or to follow a dense unified school of fish as it evades a hungry predator.
“Peaceful, still, calm, and excited — this is how I feel when I’m in the ocean, surrounded by its immensity and mysteries. I am in awe of it and grateful for its infinite beauty and abundance of life. The ocean is a world that has so many things to say, so many stories to tell, so many lessons to teach, but its voice can only be heard by our hearts. The images in this book are a reflection of what I hear beneath the waves.”