Wearing only a bathing suit and a pair of fins, Tahiti-based photographer Ben Thouard encapsulates the beauty and power of the ocean’s waves. Gorgeous images of crystal-clear waters and picturesque sunsets are the result of him spending countless hours navigating the waters with his camera. “The best way is to swim into the waves,” he tells us in an email, “and become part of the element to capture the best of it.”
Thouard photographs the ocean in varying stages of intensity. Sometimes, he’ll showcase relatively calm waters that sway back and forth. More often, however, Thouard’s images are of curling waves, shot at the moment when they start to fold over onto themselves. Both dramatic and awe-inspiring, the true force of the currents are revealed by surfers who try to tame and regularly tumble in the waves’ wake.
Although Thouard has invested so much time in ocean photography–making a career out of it–there are still encounters that stand out for him. “I think my best experience in the water is when I shot that underwater photo of a surfer getting into the tube [wave] at Teahupoo,” he says. “I was shooting only underwater pictures that day because the water was so clear! I wanted to shoot just waves and occasionally some surfers, but this wave came, I dove under, let it pass over me, turned back and started shooting.” The formal qualities of the resulting image are what mesmerized Thouard. “The way the light is going through the water, the position of the surfer and the shape of the wave, wow! It remains my favorite pictures out there.”
Here’s Thouard in action:
My Modern Met granted permission to use photos by Ben Thouard.