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The Eyes Have It

Based in Cozumel, Mexico, British, blackwater image-maker Robert Stansfield knows how to capture eyeballs.



Text and images courtesy of Robert Stansfield.

Mushoom scorpionfish

“I’ve always been an avid photographer. After learning to dive, taking a camera underwater seemed the next logical step.”

Caribbean reef squid
Red tail parrotfish

“The underwater macro world is more fascinating than I could have ever imagined. Marine species have fascinating eyes. The adaptations are incredible. Corneal iridescence is a beautiful thing.”

Caribbean reef octopus

“This peacock flounder eye gets mistaken for an octopus so many times it makes me chuckle. The appendages around the eye make it look very alien.”

Peacock flounder

“Lesser Electric Rays allow you to get very close but appear to be fascinated by a strobe charging up.”

Lesser electric ray
Nurse shark

“The key to good macro photography is subject separation. It’s essential to make these super well-camouflaged subjects pop and stand out from their surroundings.”

Dark mantis shrimp

“From a diving perspective, solid fundamentals are essential. We don’t want to destroy the environment just to take a photo.”

Scaly tailed mantis

“The eye of a webbed burrfish looks like an alien planet. It’s not often I enjoy backscatter but here I feel it really works.”

Webbed burrfish

Dive Deeper (Into Stanfield’s work):

Oceanographic: In Black Water

Robert Stansfield is a published and multi-award-winning photographer. He is currently the owner of Blackwater Cozumel, Mexico’s first blackwater dive operation. As such, he organizes many macro workshops on Cozumel. Robert is an ambassador for the Marelux and Kraken brands and has been a diver since 2000. He is a TDI Cave Diver and an SSI/PADI instructor. Before becoming totally dedicated to diving and underwater photography, Robert worked as a touring video engineer for live events, including with big recording artists in rock and roll music. He also used his video engineering skills during the Olympics and FIFA World Cups.

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Best Fishes

New Zealand-based ocean artist Mon illustrates the beauty and wonder of the undersea world.




All images and text by Mon.

My most recent dreamscape was inspired by an unforgettable dive near Seal Rocks in NSW, Australia. During that dive, I was surrounded by a breathtaking array of fish, sharks, and rays. The sheer diversity and abundance of marine life left a profound impression on me, and I knew I had to capture that experience in my art. 

I’ve always been fascinated by the incredible diversity of marine life, and this fascination led me to want to share my knowledge and love for these creatures with others. 

I’m primarily self-taught. I’ve been doing illustrations for as long as I can remember, but I started taking it more seriously around three years ago. 

I draw my inspiration primarily from the ocean itself. The underwater world is an endless source of wonder and beauty, and I find inspiration in the mesmerizing colors, intricate patterns, and fascinating creatures that inhabit it

While I don’t have formal training as a naturalist, spending countless hours exploring the ocean and observing its fascinating ecosystems has allowed me to develop a deep appreciation for the intricate beauty and complexity of marine life. 

The vibrancy of the colors in my illustrations is largely a reflection of the real-life underwater world I’ve had the privilege to explore. I often base my colors on actual images I’ve captured with my underwater camera. 

Every dive is a fresh source of creative ideas.

Creating these collections allows me to not only showcase the beauty and uniqueness of each species but also contribute to a resource that can help others learn more about the underwater world. 

One crucial aspect of my process is using photos I’ve taken as references. These images serve as a valuable resource for capturing the intricate details and features of the subject accurately and ensure that my artwork remains true to the beauty of the natural world. 

I seek to evoke emotions of tranquility, wonder, and responsibility, inviting viewers to not only admire the creatures I depict but also take action to protect them and engage in sustainable activities that ensure the health of our marine ecosystems. 

I’d like viewers to leave my illustrations with a heightened appreciation for the ocean’s beauty, a stronger connection to nature, and a greater sense of responsibility towards marine conservation. 

Ultimately, I aspire to play a meaningful role in the intersection of art, ocean advocacy, and conservation, contributing to a sustainable future for our oceans through my work.

Art is not just a passion for me; it’s my full-time job, and I feel truly fortunate to be able to make a living doing what I love.

Hailing from the picturesque shores of New Zealand, Mon’s connection with the sea is at the core of her creative journey. She’s not just an artist; she’s a free diver, a scuba dive instructor, and an adept spearfisherwoman. Over the past 8 years, Mon has explored the world’s oceans, diving into their mysteries and capturing their beauty. Mon specialises in marine illustrations, crafting captivating artworks that transport viewers beneath the waves. Guided by the visual references she captures with her underwater camera and enriched by her personal encounters with marine life, Mon’s art comes to life with authenticity and depth. She is also an advocate for sustainable spearfishing practices. She utilizes her art as a potent medium to raise awareness about the importance of responsible fishing. 

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