BIO: As a kid, I grew up just outside of San Francisco in Burlingame CA. My fascination with marine life was notable even as a toddler, but it wasn't until I began surfing at the age of 8, that these cold waters started to become familiar. The rough Northern California coastline was a sanctuary that provided me a clear and positive path as I found myself growing older. At the age of 18, I started abalone diving on California's north coast and took to spearfishing shortly after. Aside from the abundance of food the ocean provided, I was (and still am) astounded with the beauty that lies just below the surface. My love of photography came as a way of trying to show people the incredible subsurface ecosystems that few of us ever get to see firsthand.

Currently, I am a 24 year old student enrolled in UCSB's Film and Media Studies program. When I finally came to terms with the fact that there were rarely waves in Santa Barbara like there were at home, I took to diving as much as possible as a way of immersing myself in the ocean. Most of the underwater photos on this site were taken just a few blocks from my house, usually on weekdays before or after class.

GOAL: From a very young age the ocean has been a place of mystery and adventure. As I grow older, I find myself immersed deeper and deeper into the depths of it's unknown. Whether it's surfing or diving, I always try to push myself to have as much fun as my aquatic adventures can provide; competition and rivalries left back on shore. The best diver is the one who carries with them the most respect and astonishment each and every time they enter the water, not the diver who can kill the most fish.


The aim of my photography is to try to rekindle a respect for our natural world that I feel has become lost in this day and age. I hope to inspire those whose curiosity leads them into a deep fascination with the world I try to capture in my images.​


WHY FREEDIVING? Freediving is basically "Extreme Snorkeling" as me and my friends like to joke. One breath at the surface is all you get before you dive down - no tanks, spare air, hookas, hoses, compressors or any other crazy contraptions that may help you breathe underwater. With some practice, talented freedivers can spend minutes underwater at depths that easily exceed 50ft. Although Freediving is not the easiest or most practical way to take underwater photos, the difficulty of shooting photos on breath hold rather than SCUBA adds an entirely new element to underwater photography that I find extremely rewarding when done right. The idea stems from a true sportsman's perspective on spearfishing; shooting fish on SCUBA essentially cheating. So why can't photography be the same way?


Although I am scuba certified through NAUI, no oxygen tanks were used to take any of the photos shown on this site, all underwater visuals were captured while freediving. However, freelance work can be done on SCUBA.


 Below are some images of myself and the ocean over the years:

Myself shooting macro images in green water off the Santa Barbara Coastline. Photo Taken by Jessica Kendall Bar

© 2020 by Marco Mazza Photography