Greg Lecoeur

Award-winning ocean and wildlife photographer

"I could feel the power of nature. I was also touched at the same time by a feeling of fulfilment. I had the chance to capture the spectacular moment within a split second."

When and why did you start diving?

I grew up by the Mediterranean Sea and started diving as a child. Passionate about marine biology, scuba diving allows me to explore and tell the stories of the oceans. Scuba diving has become a lifestyle filled with many adventures and human encounters with whom we share the same passion. Underwater exploration offers me exciting experiences and moments of extreme freedom. When I am underwater, I always feel good!

What is your spirit fish or mammal?

I'm in love with marine wildlife, from the smallest to the biggest, and it is impossible to choose a favourite one. That said, I am completely amazed by sharks. They are incredible animals, apex predators, at the top of evolution. They are very photogenic, capturing the light in such a specific way. Also, Pilot Whales encounters, especially in the Mediterranean Sea, are always precious moments, as they are extremely social and intelligent animals. 

How do you approach non-divers to get them excited about learning to dive?

Diving is accessible for everyone and requires no specific physical conditions. It is an outstanding and exciting activity that can quickly become addictive. It can also create great moments to share with friends and family.  

Dream dive: where and with who (alive or not)?

My dream would be to bring my daughter to dive one day in an ocean of life, where plastic pollution would be a bad memory, where fish stocks would be back to normal and where biodiversity would be exposed in all its splendor.

Most memorable dive experience?

My best memorable experience was in South Africa during the Sardine Run. The sardines migration along the Wild Coast attracts all marine predators who work together to hunt bait balls in unison. I had the chance to be in the right place at the right time, and to witness and document this moment when common dolphins and Cape gannet birds were hunting. For one of the photographs I took this day, I was awarded in 2016 as National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year.

Another amazing experience I had was in Tonga, interacting with a young humpback whale. This mammal was very curious and playful. It came to investigate and adopted the spy hopping posture in front of my mask. Although weighing several tens of tons, the whale showed incredible agility and power in holding itself vertically in the water.

Finally, I'd say my most beautiful but also most challenging expedition has been in Antarctica: the exploration of the hidden face of icebergs, in freezing waters, was a special kind of diving. My meeting with crab-eater seals led to some of my favourite pictures, for which I was awarded Underwater Photographer of the Year in 2020.

Favorite piece of Aqualung equipment?

For me, the Legend regulator is without a doubt the best regulator ever. I have used it to dive in the most extreme conditions: in the icy waters of Antarctica and Arctic where temperatures are minus 2.5°C, in tropical waters such as French Polynesia with deep dives outside the passes or in strong current dives in Indonesia. Legend regulator provides me with all the comfort and safety during my dives with a calm and safe breathing.

What steps are you taking to improve the health of our oceans? Any advice for others who want to help?

Through my photographic work, I share stories of the seas and the oceans and try to raise public awareness, our beautiful, amazing marine ecosystems are also very fragile. We have to preserve our natural heritage, we have to protect biodiversity.

I strongly believe that the experience of nature can move us, bring us some emotions that can be a shift point in our environmental awareness. 

I encourage everyone to take action. We all have a part to play, even small. The solution is also in our hands, by carrying out little, daily actions.

Follow Greg's adventures: