Plankton: a Tiny Creature, Glowing In the Dark

Ryo Minemizu is Japanese underwater photographer who has spent 20 years of his life photographing beautiful but often forgotten, residents of the ocean – plankton.

In order to capture a perfect shot of these microscopic creatures, Minemizu has to make a lot of sacrifices, that not many photographers would be willing to make. He’s usually shooting near Mount Fuji in the Osezaki sea and off the Okinawa coast. The photographer has to dive deep underwater and usually stays there perfectly still for two to eight hours.

“Plankton are intriguing and beautiful creatures. They symbolize how precious life is by their tiny existence. I wanted other people to see them as they are in the sea–that was my motivation for beginning to shoot plankton underwater, which is quite a challenge. Most plankton are so small and their movements are hard to predict. I have devoted my past 20 years to presenting their tiny figures, colors, and textures to capture their vivid beauty,” the photographer said.

Plankton are tiny creatures, usually between 2 mm and 40 mm, which means they’re invisible to the naked eye. Plankton are drifting in the ocean as they’re unable to swim against the current, so you can imagine how hard it must be to take a good shot of them.

In 2016, Minemizu won the Nikkei National Geographic Photo Award for these stunning images. Take a look.