Statement - Toru Kasuya Photography


The rich, beautiful ocean enfolding us

Photographing the marvels of marine life near residential areas


When I go diving in the ocean to take photographs underwater, I almost always do a beach entry*. I take my photos near populous coasts. Not many residents are aware of the bountiful life under their noses. Even fishermen, who make a living from the sea, are surprised when they look at my photos, saying that they had no idea marine creatures were living this way, as they only see them out of the ocean.

There is much activity of living things and superb scenery to be enjoyed only by those who go under the water. You don’t need to venture out into far-flung southern islands or to the polar regions, as the ocean right in front of you is full of nature. I want to convey the great nature that exists unnoticed by many people. By learning that we are surrounded by such rich and varied ecosystems, our life becomes even more enriched.

Back on the beach after shooting, I show my photos fresh out of the ocean to the locals. The excitement and amazed expressions they show me truly motivate me.

A cold current from the North Pole and a warm current from the equator collide at the archipelago of Japan. Its geography, with many peninsulas, further mixes the currents to form a rich, complicated ecosystem. Even near urban areas, there is a thriving environment in the ocean. There must be another such vibrant world in the ocean near New York City as well. We are living, enfolded by amazingly abundant oceans.

To convey these marvels, I adopted composition and expression techniques from ukiyo-e. I am very much intrigued by this form of artistic expression unique to Japan, which had been developed before photography was invented. The way of presenting beautiful images by putting emphasis on the sensation the artist felt is very applicable to modern photography as well. My aim is to become an underwater photographer who carries the spirit of an ukiyo-e artist.

*Note: ‘beach entry’ is a diving method in which you enter the water from a beach or a shore, instead of entering offshore from a boat.

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