Anuar Patjane is a Mexican photographer and anthropologist. Underwater photography is one of his many talents. I interviewed him about his work and what motivates him:
Renata Collado: Out of your vast portfolio, the work that impacted me the most is your underwater photography. I can see you have a great passion for the ocean, how did this come about?
Anuar Patjane: It has been a slow process, and it all began when I was seventeen years old. My mom is a marine biologist so she insisted that I give diving a try and immediately I got hooked to it. The passion for the ocean grabs you slowly and never let’s you go. The more time you spend on the sea the more you want to preserve it, all because of the beauty that lies beneath.
C: There is one image in particular that stuck with me the most—the one with the whale. These moments are magical. What is it like to be underwater with these creatures?
P: It is just overwhelming at first; the magnitude of these animals hits you psychologically and adrenaline starts to pump. Few thing in life are as exciting as diving next to whales.
C: Tell me a little about the process before you shoot. Do you work with locals and go to recommended spots or just wing it and see what you encounter?
P: Both, depending on the place. Most of the time I just walk around and carry the camera with me all the time and use my intuition to find things. I don’t stage shots and I usually never plan a shot ahead. Sometimes I preconceive something on my mind and then I try to find a moment that looks like the one I imagined.
C: Do you think your work is a call to action? Because your images are certainly powerful enough to move people.
P: It certainly is, or at least I want it to be. Photography, videography, and anything that can show a wider public the beauty of the ocean can make people care about it. We need to do our best to create a connection between the ocean and the people that don’t live next to it.
C: I see most of your images are in B&W, is there a reason behind it?
P: B&W for me is pure magic, it goes directly to my subconscious and provokes emotions that I can’t feel with color photography. Also I enjoy the simplicity of it, the purity; with color there are too many variables, each color becomes a variable. With B&W you concentrate only on light, contrast, and forms.
C: Out of all of the places you’ve seen, which one would you say left the biggest impression on you?
P: Antarctica, for sure. Also the Galapagos.
C: Do you have any upcoming projects?
P: Yes, I cant be happy without a next project, I need them. This year I will be exploring the Sea of Cortez, Iceland, and Isla del Coco.
This interview has been edited for clarity and length.