Japanese underwater photographer Ryo Minemizu has dedicated his 20-year career to capturing some of the smallest organisms in the sea—plankton. Shooting primarily in the shadow of Mount Fuji in the Osezaki sea and off the Okinawa coast, Minemizu goes deep underwater to discover the beauty and diversity of these microscopic creatures.
His dedication sees him spending two to eight hours underwater every day, where he sets about photographing these tiny organisms. As they typically measure between 2 mm and 40 mm, Minemizu has had to develop special techniques to achieve his incredible photographs. Through trial and error, Minemizu developed the Black Water Dive, a night dive with underwater lighting to bring out the best of larval plankton.
“Plankton are intriguing and beautiful creatures. They symbolize how precious life is by their tiny existence,” the photographer writes. “I wanted other people to see them as they are in the sea–that was my motivation for beginning to shoot plankton underwater, which is quite a challenge. Most plankton are so small and their movements are hard to predict. I have devoted my past 20 years to presenting their tiny figures, colors, and textures to capture their vivid beauty.”
Minemizu's photographs are full of detail. The plankton are so complex that it's difficult to believe how small they actually are in size. Through his skilled and carefully thought out marine life photography, Minemizu is able to capture the vibrant colors and anatomical complexity of the plankton, which are some of the most abundant organisms on earth. And in doing so, he reminds us of just how vital these often unseen creatures are to the food chain.
After years of focusing on the scientific community, Minemizu is bringing his brilliant photography to a wider audience. His touring exhibition, Jewels in the Night Sea, opens at the Canon Gallery Giza in Tokyo on August 20, 2018, before moving to Nagoya and Osaka. Ryo Minemizu prints are available for sale via Fineprint Photo.