Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Claire Nouvian: Deep Sea Beauties


This week, The Reel Foto blog heads to the waters and seas starting with the deepest depths of the oceans. Here, a thousand fathoms below the water's surface where little sunlight invades the privacy of the darkness, where the intense pressure is enough to crush a man and the extreme cold embraces all, mysterious and beautiful sea creatures abound. Public knowledge of these animals would be found wanting today were it not for the efforts of many devoted researchers and scientists, most especially that of the work of Claire Nouvian.


Claire Nouvian isn't a photographer per se, but a journalist and filmmaker, having worked on pieces focusing on wildlife for different television shows.

Nouvian's foray into the deep sea began almost a decade ago when she visited the Mysteries of the Deep exhibition at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. Unfortunately, many of the wonderfully weird animals included were as of yet unidentified. Worse yet, there wasn't much information about the deep sea available to the public at that time. Fascinated by the deep sea creatures, she set out to document them in their own habitat in the depths of the oceans for the whole world to see.


Nouvian's work is actually quite timely, considering the lack of information regarding the Earth's seas and the inhabitants within. While many speculate about the future of space flight and exploration, relatively little has been mentioned of deep sea exploration nowadays. That is unfortunate as in many ways the oceans are the next real frontier for discovery; the waters of the earth cover more than 70% of its total surface, yet more is known about the Earth's moon than what lies in the depths of the oceans.

Nouvian spent more than four years on the project and collected more than 6,000 images with the help of other scientists and photographers (including deep sea photographer David Shale). The number of images collected is mind-boggling, considering that many researchers have spent many years in the field (and underwater) and have only encountered a fraction of what Nouvian has published.


These photographs are not only beautiful, but also essential to research as they allow scientists an objective view of these creatures in their natural habitat. Were they to be pulled up to the topside world where the air reigns, their delicate bodies would disintegrate, not allowing researchers a real glimpse into the lives of these elusive invertebrates.

While Nouvian's book met with much praise and success, her devotion to the subject is far from over. Her research into the ocean's life led her to discover that much of the waters and their inhabitants are largely unprotected and left to the devastating effects of human greed. One cruel practice is that of bottom trawling fishing. This has had severe environmental impacts, yet there is a clear lack of regulation on this hazardous practice.

In response to the possibility that the ocean bed's life might be wiped out due to these kinds of practices, Nouvian set up BLOOM Association to help with her marine conservation advocacy.


If you want to see more of these spectacular images by Claire Nouvian and her team, head on over to The Deep Sea Book website. Better yet, purchase the book, The Deep: The Extraordinary Creatures of the Abyss so that you can enjoy over 200 color photographs in all their glory along with insightful scientific commentary. Don't forget to visit the BLOOM Association website to learn more about how you can help keep these wonderful creatures alive and well for future generations to see.

23 comments:

Laughing Vault said...

first one is beautiful, it looks like pokemon

Jaccstev said...

Those creatures look somewhat creepy in the photographs.

iNews said...

Awesome pictures!

The Angry Lurker said...

There are a couple of beauties but in the main butt ugly but still weirdly enthralling.

D4 said...

I love the deep sea. So many beauties to observe, what a life it must be to capture images of these. Must be so exciting!

Triper said...

First one is very funny :))

Jon Dujaka said...

There are some cute ones, but damn, there are some nightmare inducing ones as well.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Seriously who needs aliens when we have those things swimming around.

Banacek said...

I find deep sea exploration even more interesting than space exploration.

MRanthrope said...

wow, some of those creatures are pretty terrifying. I took a trip to the aquarium a few months ago and yes, those suckers are pretty gnarly.

Shutterbug said...

They look creepy, but in a beautiful kinda way!

AllenTesch said...

The seadevil looks awesome. I love fish and deep sea fish are so interesting.

movie68 said...

Cool stuff, I love those deep sea specials on discovery channel, so this is right up my alley.

StigmataHandjob said...

Absolutely stunning. I'm buying that book.

Wintermute said...

so if its so cold and dark, and the pressure is so bad, how exactly does she take these pictures?

Elliot MacLeod-Michael said...

the first one and the blacksnout seasnail are simply adorable

Alixander said...

There's some weird stuff down there.

Electric Addict said...

dragonfish is crazy

Jay said...

@Wintermute: They use specialized submersible remote controlled robots.

Tony Storm said...

its awesome an all but those things freak me out

RedHeadRob said...

Crazy stuff exists deep underwater..

T. Roger Thomas said...

Amazing photos of some truly remarkable creatures. Thanks!

Jblogger said...

wow, those look very crazy

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