Photographer Spends Hours in Open Waters to Capture Exquisite Moments of Glass-Like Waves

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.”

© Ben Thouard :

Here's Thouard in action:

Ben Thouard: Website | Facebook | Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to use photos by Ben Thouard.

Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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