Bastien Soleil Brings Photography to New Depths

Bastien Soleil is a French photographer who ventures the unexplored depths of the ocean with his ethereal underwater photography. With floating subjects enveloped in a sea of sapphire and cerulean, Soleil’s images convey a cleansing and restorative atmosphere that awakens a new understanding of life. This awakening is not only seen in Soleil’s photos but in his professional journey as well. In 2010, Soleil sold his communications agency and left behind his career in marketing to travel to countries in Asia. In 2015, he discovered freediving in Thailand and was immediately hooked by the immersive and explorative nature of the activity. Since then, Soleil has left the corporate world for the ocean and hasn’t looked back. 

Soleil sees underwater photography as an untapped path that has endless possibilities for the medium of photography. The movement of water brings a unique fluidity to a still art. The graceful and liquid-like motions of Soleil’s subjects mirror the fluidity of their surroundings, creating an element of liveliness to the photos. While Soleil’s images may look effortless, there are many added layers of difficulty in underwater photography. All of Soleil’s photos are taken without any air assistance or masks. He is required to work extremely fast with less than 30 seconds of shooting time. With the constantly moving debris and aquatic life, it’s impossible to predict the outcome of a photo. Soleil’s work embraces the fact that the ocean has a mind of its own and is not trying to control it, but rather highlight it. 

Inspired by the Italian Renaissance, Soleil’s art incorporates similar figure compositions with the soft and dreamlike lighting seen in this period of art. His weightless images are an invitation to let go and surrender to nature. His subjects are placed in a world of wonder that is free of the expectations and stresses of the modern world. One look at Soleil’s celestial photographs invites a desire for peace and self-discovery.