Renee Grinnell Capozzola

My biggest passion is photographing marine animals, especially in far reaching corners of the globe where the underwater world still flourishes. Through my diving experiences, I have developed a true appreciation for healthy marine ecosystems and believe that by taking and publishing striking images underwater photographers highlight the beauty of nature while calling attention to issues faced by our deteriorating seas. Having grown up in sunny Southern California, the ocean has always been an integral part of my life, but I didn’t take up scuba diving until 2004 when my husband and I decided to try something new while visiting Maui. I was immediately hooked and determined to spend as much time as I could underwater. With my professional background in biology, I quickly became interested in taking pictures of the many fascinating ocean animals and ecosystems I encountered while diving. Starting with a simple compact camera, I shared my stories and images with family members, friends, and students. In 2016, I decided to pursue photography itself as a more serious endeavor and upgraded my underwater photography system, transitioning to a professional career shortly thereafter. It is a real privilege to share the ocean with so many amazing creatures. Some of my favorites include sharks, rays, turtles, whales, and cephalopods. I am most grateful for having been the first woman named the Underwater Photographer of the Year, in 2021, which substantially elevated my ability to advocate for endangered animals and habitats through continued publications and speaking engagements throughout the world. I am currently excited to be working on a story centered around the conservation of mangrove ecosystems, which store more carbon per unit area than any other ecosystem. Through my pictures I hope to increase the awareness of our fragile marine ecosystems and encourage others to help protect our oceans.