Marine biologist Alexander Semenov specializes in invertebrates and is the head of the divers’ team at Moscow State University’s White Sea Biological Station where he organizes and manages all sorts of work, often diving in harsh conditions. Semenov is also a professional photographer, so combining these two specialties allows him to capture subjects most of us haven't even seen.
Semenov is mostly interested in scientific macrophotography in natural environments. “This practice makes it possible to observe animals that cannot be properly studied under laboratory conditions, such as soft-bodied planktonic organisms or stationary life forms living on the seafloor,” the diver explained on his Flickr profile. “My personal goal is to study underwater life through camera lenses and to boost people’s interest in marine biology. I do this by sharing all my findings through social media and in real life, through public lectures, movies, exhibitions, and various media events.”
I think it's safe to say that Semenov is successfully working towards his goal. His photos of all the CGI-like real-life aliens of the deep blue sea are going viral on nearly every imaginable platform online, impressing people all over the world.
Semenov has captured these creatures all over the world, including the Southern Kuril Islands, the Southern Maldives, the White Sea, the Mediterranean, and other breathtaking places.
Interestingly, in an interview with EIZO, Semenov said that underwater photography rarely shows what you see by your own eyes. “Even the most modern cameras go crazy – white balance and colors are always shifted, some colors in the spectrum just disappear because of light absorption by the seawater. That’s why it’s almost impossible to get a good image without proper editing (sometimes, really heavy editing). The main goal is to get not only proper colors, but to make your picture shine and look natural, without over-editing – that’s what every wildlife photographer wants. As a final result, all these images will be in the books, exhibitions, galleries and magazines, so you need to be sure that your pictures look great not only on the screen, but as physical prints too.”
As you probably noticed by now, Semenov knows how to keep himself busy. He and his team even created their own popular science project, called Aquatilis. “The aim of the project is finding, studying, and photographing the most interesting and unusual denizens of the ocean,” he said. Not only do they photograph animals and tell people all about the underwater world, but they also act as science ambassadors, revealing what it takes to start exploring the ice under the Northern lights and staying open, focused, and full of enthusiasm.
The diver said he and his teammates became scientists and travelers because they were inspired by the adventures of Jacques Yves Cousteau and his team and the books of Jules Verne and Thor Heyerdahl. Now, according to Semenov, it is time for the new generation of explorers to tell all about their adventures to kids and teens so they too can become whatever it is they dare to dream of.