“I try to evoke a connection with the blue and all its creatures, even in people who’ve never had any ocean encounters.”
In celebration of World Oceans Day, we sat down with Ellen Cuylaerts, wildlife & underwater photographer and ocean ambassador
June 8, 2018
Q: What inspired you to become an underwater & wildlife photographer?
A: I can not describe it in a different way than it must have been a calling since I got into diving and photography well into my forties. I jumped into this adventure, got noticed fast, won some competitions which gave me a louder voice for the oceans, and I got respect from my peers and the people who inspired me. I did not look back. Finally my never pursued passions for wildlife, marine life, photography and conservation all came together and I’ve used my images from the start to bring awareness about the challenges the oceans are facing. With my pictures I try to evoke a connection with the blue and all its creatures, even in people who’ve never had any ocean encounters. Once people feel, get touched, they will protect or at least be more mindful about every day actions to preserve.
Q: Do you have a favorite photograph that you took? Why is it your favorite?
A: Ahhhh, I have many favorite images. Sometimes being in the middle of the blue at the craziest times, feels like magic. When all the elements come together and you see that happening and your mind, body, eyes and hands all work together to capture the animal how you want to express the feeling of THAT moment…yes, at those times I shoot my favorite images. This one is called ‘Reminiscence’ and is of a manta ray at night under a light beam with a little school of fish underneath. I’m grateful for the world beneath the surface giving us life!
Q: Tell us about this photo?
A: What’s not to love about seals and kelp;-)! Seals are my favorite animals to photograph. Whiskers and big eyes make me instant happy. To photograph them in a bed of kelp, which has so many health benefits and gives a mysterious look and feel, symbolizes the giving nature of the oceans!
Q: As an ocean ambassador, what’s one message you’d like to share for World Oceans Day?
A: Every day should be World Oceans Day. There is no time to waste, no space to point fingers! If you want change for future generations you have to start with yourself and the change has to be in every decision you make!
Learn more about Ellen
Living on a tropical island, I spend most of my days in or around the water. I love the salt on my skin, in my hair and walking barefoot on the sand through the washing waves. Being in nature also means being confronted with human impacts to the sea (plastic pollution and climate change). As an ocean ambassador talking about awareness, preservation and conservation I emphasize on the importance of being the change you want to see. Samudra's products and roots are the perfect fit: protecting our blue planet, creating awareness and offering biodegradable products making the beauty routine eco friendly and super efficient.
Favorite Samudra product: Sea Soap. One bar nurtures my body and hair. It is easy and light to pack to far and remote places.