Photographer Reveals the Crystal Clear Waters of Mexico’s Underwater Caves

Diver Swimming Through Underwater Cave in Mexico

Photographer Joram Mennes has an interesting creative niche. Not only is he an underwater photographer, but he specializes in photographing cenotes on the Yucatan Peninsula. These underwater sinkholes form when limestone bedrock collapses and then fills with groundwater or rainwater. The Yucatan Peninsula is filled with these hidden gems—some known and others relatively unexplored. Thanks to photographers like Mennes, we're able to get a glimpse inside these mysterious environments.

Recently, Mennes went exploring with diver Mauro Bordignon. Bordignon's expertise made him the perfect model for a shoot where one needs to pose while balancing themselves underwater. But before even getting to a photoshoot, Mennes must scout the location multiple times in order to have a clear map of the cave. This not only gives him a good idea of where the model can pose but also allows for greater safety as he learns the proper exit routes.

“The more you dive into the same cave, the better you learn it and reference yourself within it,” Mennes tells My Modern Met. “This can be very challenging for a photographer as one must find areas suitable for the desired shot, scout, and explore over and over again and construct the light setup mentally before arriving in the part of the cave, as time will be short once in place.”

While some cenotes are well documented, many are located in remote areas and are relatively unexplored except for by locals. Tips from locals are how Mennes came upon this most recent location, which was located a 90-minute drive from the nearest city in the middle of a jungle. Once in the cave, Mennes and Bordignon began their silent ballet as they communicated to each other without words in order to get the pictures that they were after. The results are incredible.

Though there are 3,000 cenotes registered in the Yucatan, so many of them have never been seen by the public. Mennes is working to change that through his photography. In fact, these photographs were taken for the Xiimbalil Ja – Kaxan Tso’ono’oto’ob. This festival, which translates from Mayan to “Strolling through water, discovering the Cenotes,” aims to bring more public awareness to this precious freshwater resource.

As diving in these caves is not recommended for the general public for safety reasons, the photographs that Mennes takes are vital in making people understand that we need to protect these spaces.

The Yucatan Peninsula is filled with cenotes—underwater caves filled with freshwater.
Underwater Cave in Mexico

Diver Swimming Through Underwater Cave in Mexico

Photographer Joram Mennes specializes in photographing these incredible spaces.

Joram Mennes Posing with Diving Equipment

His most recent photos were taken inside an underwater cave located deep in the Mexican jungle.

Inside Water Filled Cave in Mexico

Diver Swimming Through Underwater Cave in Mexico

Light Pouring Into Cenote

Cenote in Mexico

Photographer Swimming Through Cenote

Diver Swimming Through Underwater Cave in Mexico

Joram Mennes: Website | Facebook | Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Joram Mennes and MalixArt.

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A Panoramic Exploration of a Magical Underwater World

Underground Cave Expeditions Reveal a Whole New World

Underground Cave in Mexico Houses the World’s Largest Crystals

Captivating Video Shows Flooded Park Submerged in Crystal Clear Water

Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Staff Editor and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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