Jeannot Kuenzel considers himself something of an alien hunter. A dive instructor and ocean enthusiast, he’s been exploring the world beneath the waves for nearly two decades. He’s photographed countless species, but his true passion lies in seeing the unseen: most of his subjects are less than ten millimetres long, about the same length as two grains of rice.
“I started diving back in 1998,” he says. “Of course I got hooked on the aliens of the deep blue right away. Back then, however, I did not appreciate the small and tiny – too breathtaking were the sharks, turtles and large fish.”
This all changed when Kuenzel moved to Malta, where larger ocean inhabitants are few and far between. “One catches a glimpse of the occasional barracuda or amberjack, perhaps the odd ray or dolphin,” he says. “So I had to find something else – and that was macro and super-macro photography.”
Over the years, Kuenzel has perfected his kit, cycling through various lenses – and even constructing his own – to get the clearest, most powerful magnification.
“It’s become an addiction,” he says. “On every single dive I find something I have never seen before. If you jump in the water with the intent to spend your time looking for really small things, you quickly get into this super relaxed state of mind. You start to really look at the plants and sea floor, and suddenly your focus shifts away from diving and into discovery mode. A true appreciation of beauty, not of the whole seascape, but the individual.”
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article: Sarah Keartes
photo: Jeannot Kuenzel