Renowned underwater photographer Christian Vizl is known for his unique black-and-white imagery. Over 30 years of his work culminated in the publication of his 2019 book Silent Kingdom. Now, after nearly two years of silence, Vizl is back with a new series of work that is a complete transformation of his style.
I Am Water is a stunning new series that sees Vizl pushing his work toward abstraction. These artistic underwater photographs come from Vizl's increasing awareness that everything humans do can have an effect on the ocean—this includes Vizl's own traveling and diving. So, for I Am Water, the photographer actually created almost the entire series using recycled images.
“My passion goes beyond just the artistic side of a photograph, and I am more interested in using them to bring hope and benefit the Ocean, the Planet, and all its living beings by creating awareness of the dire problems of today's world through beauty, a universal language,” shares Vizl.
This desire made it an easy choice to use imagery he already had on hand rather than going out to shoot new photographs. And in doing so, he saw his work evolve.
“This approach gave me the opportunity to dive deeper into the ever-changing nature of our perceptions,” he shares, “and, through a new vision, explore the meaning of the reality of the interconnectedness and interdependence we all share on this planet as a way to spark a shift in our consciousness that can lead us to more positive actions.”
The results are mesmerizing. In these sepia-toned photographs, we see glimpses of the familiar mixed with the abstract. In one image, thousands of silverside fish fill the frame, creating a hypnotic pattern. In another, water plants located in a Mexican cenote run like a spine up the vertical frame.
Each photo gives a new perspective on the underwater world; and in doing so, reminds us of the beauty that could be lost if we don't work collectively to keep our oceans clean. In a statement he penned about the series, Vizl reminds us that “you cannot fill an Ocean with one drop of water, but every drop of water is needed to fill this Ocean, and for the Ocean to be healthy, every drop of water must be healthy.”