Internationally acclaimed oceanic photographer (former Wildlife Photographer of the Year and International Photographer of the Year), Christian Vizl takes us on a surreal underwater journey with his stunning black and white ocean photography.
We’d like to thank Vizl for making his new book, SILENT KINGDOM: A World Beneath the Waves, available as a silent auction item at Off the Reef. In addition to featuring images both other-worldly and dramatic, the book benefits from contributions from president and chairman of Mission Blue Dr. Sylvia A. Earle, as well as many luminaries of the diving and conservation world.
We spoke with Christian to learn more about how Sylvia’s voice has contributed meaning to his career.
IOFF: Tell us about yourself. What first interested you in the ocean and what gives you hope for its future?
Vizl: Ever since I was a kid, as far back as I can remember, I was attracted to the sea. I dreamt about what lay beneath the waves, and how would it 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. My hope for the future is for us humans to at least achieve the goal of mission blue; to establish a worldwide network of marine protected areas large enough to give life in the Ocean a chance.
IOFF: How has Sylvia Earle’s work pioneered the way for others in this field?
Vizl: In so many ways! Her long life career devoted to Ocean exploration and conservation commands the highest respect, admiration and gratitude. As the problems that we humans have created in the ocean (which is our most important support to all life on this planet) are ever increasing to the point where we are putting all life at risk, her kind, wise and powerful voice of protection and hope is one of the most important and influential voices in my life, giving a clear intention to my own work, which is to be a voice of and for the ocean.
IOFF: What is an example of recent policy changes or conservation wins that are good for the ocean and planet? How can we catalyze more of those?
Vizl: In 2017, the Mexican government created the National Marine Park of Revillagigedo, the largest marine protected area in North America with over 15 million hectares fully protected to any fishing or commercial activity. Of course Dr. Earle was the guest of honor of the Mexican government in the official announcement. To catalyze more of these actions it is important that every person raise his/her own awareness of the importance of protecting the Ocean and to start taking actions and support the creation of more protected marine areas all over the world.
We look forward to sharing more Sylvia Stories leading up to the benefit. Make sure to follow us on social media and use the hashtag #SylviaStories to share your own story.
The Off the Reef Fall Benefit is hosted Saturday November 2nd in San Francisco, CA. All proceeds benefit the Student Education Program a free film program hosted in March for over 1,200 Bay Area middle and high school students. For more information and tickets to Off the Reef, visit our website here.