Interview with Underwater Wildlife Photographer Jean-Marie Ghislain

Throughout his life, Jean-Marie Ghislain was afraid of the ocean’s dangerous predators. In 2008, he decided to face his fears. Since his first dive with sharks, the Belgian artist has been dedicated to underwater photography as well as protecting marine life. We speak to him about his black and white take on the underwater world

How did you get into photography?
I got my first camera when I was twelve or thirteen-years-old and never stopped. I was taking pictures of everything and not really focusing on a perspective. It’s only when I decided to go into the ocean and get over my fear that suddenly I could put my work into perspective.

When you started out what were you taking pictures of?
I’ve always been in a way almost oversensitive to light. I never looked at things, at people in the normal way. I was always looking at the way everyone and every object is absorbing and reflecting the light. It’s been that way since I was a kid.

That sounds quite artistic. Photographers and artists are a little obsessed with light and how to work with it or against it.
It’s been not even second nature, but almost first nature to me. Of course I did very little with it during most of my life. It was only when I started...

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