Laurent Ballesta, marine scientist and distinguished underwater photographer

by spotmydive

A French legend who is committed to defend a modern ecology and dedicates his life to the conservation of our natural legacy.

Biography Laurent Ballesta: Expedition to a thousand leagues under the sea

Don’t pretend you don’t know that guy, Laurent is a type of man mysterious dark and handsome and he protects bioethical values with Nicolas Hulot , both are defending the nature of the greatest predator: humankind ! His atypical career was such that before he made us admire unknown seascapes, he studied biology at the University of Montpellier to obtain a master’s degree in ecology. His first successes will be discovered pretty soon and the seabed will open his arms. So he was able to travel the world and making his passion a job to bloom his knowledge and discoveries : though of a genius. His life of an explorer will be profound and with Pierre Descamps, Laurent will create an association « l’œil d’Andromède the eye of Andromeda which in 2008 will become the company: “l’Andromede Oceanologie”. The expertise of his company is in the image of its transverse DNA because his team studies both the bionomic mapping of the seabed and the impact study of coastal development but also the management of coastal ecosystems: Laurent is a all terrain racer…

© Laurent Ballesta

Vocation : director and photographer underwater

Young and full of enthusiasm, he received awards including 3 times the gold medal at the world festival of the underwater image and he pushed further innovation by using new technologies. Progress is his leitmotiv so thanks to his rebreather diving he could dive to admire the wildlife and wild flora longer and intensively! Alerted by an unexplained natural phenomenon, in 2004 he went to observe the reproduction of sharks in Polynesia this case had never happened until then : a documentary was made “le 7 ème ciel des requins gris The 7th sky of the gray sharks”. The adventure continues so well that in 2007 he went to the depths of Tierra del Fuego in Patagonia. 2008 was the year of New Caledonia to explore the twilight zone beyond 100 m from the Loyalty Islands. A living witness of the masterpieces of nature, he took pictures of species never photographed until now: the film “Au Royaume du Nautile” was born.

Meeting with the antique Coelacanth

In 2010, Laurent immortalized an ancestral underwater photograph in a natural environment in South Africa in the Mozambique Channel, and the Coelacanths fossil fish that existed for more than 65 million years were seduced for the first time by his camera. This unreal underwater photo was just one of his inflated innovations, and this world-wide discovery was an opportunity for Ushuaia Nature to produce an engaging show with fascinating images.

© Laurent Ballesta

Facilitator and accessible pedagogy

Laurent collaborated with channel TF1 on the program Ushuaia Nature, this time taking the cap of scientific adviser on the marine environment from Nicolas Hulot. In addition to his television appearances he published portfolios on famous magazines which are known at international level. He also launched various underwater heritage enhancement and eco-valorization programs French Polynesia and various archipelagos, Aqaba in Jordan. In early 2011, Laurent will initiate a movement related to the discovery of underwater biodiversity via his company Andromeda and will thus create the first art and education gallery entirely dedicated to the oceans.

© Laurent Ballesta

Bibliography: his golden books!

France will be his first source of inspiration, since 2003 he signed his first book devoted to the underwater flora and fauna of his native roots the Languedoc-Roussillon. In 2005 the book “Planète Mers” co-signed with Pierre Descamp summarizes 11 years of passion and observation of the 5 oceans of our planet. He will be rewarded by his peers and the World Underwater Picture Festival will award him a gold medal. The Senate will also pay tribute to his involvement and the public exhibition of “Planète Mer” in the Luxembourg Garden in Paris has opened many doors for him. Between 2007 and 2009, 200 meters deep from the Mediterranean Sea, another book was born: “In the depths of the Bay of Angels”. In 2010, an augmented reissue “Secrets of the Mediterranean Sea ” will be born to sign the deepest photograph of the world made in scuba diving at 190 m depth. In 2012, he published another book “Odyssey in the waters of here” a real tribute to aquatic biodiversity. In early 2013, he published another book on the marine life of the port areas “Urban Wild Life”. In 2014, it is “Gombessa” fruit of its meeting with the coelacanth in its environment during 5 years which will be born. In 2015 he went to Antarctica to explore the pack ice and exhibited his pictures at the COB21. In 2016, he filmed the nocturnal hunting of gray sharks on the Fakarava atoll, then in 2017 with his team they return to the Tuamotu to shoot “Gombessa IV” in order to uncover the secret of shark pack hunts.

A Cousteau of modern times

As a famous popularizer of underwater photography, Laurent Ballesta is a rare and multipurpose man. He started to dive at the age of 13 but he was aware that he wanted to live his passion in collective mode and share his virus with the fellowship. He knew how to pay our attention to change our mentalities and make our oceans a better world!

Discover his latest magnificent book:700 SHARKS IN THE NIGHT