Firstly, can you start with a little bit about yourself?
My name is Larisa, and besides my family, there’s nothing I love more than the ocean. I’m originally from Ecuador but have lived in Australia for the past 13 years. When I was 12, I used to say to my dad that when I get older, I want to work helping animals in the wild, and he suggested that I go to Australia.So here I am, only the story of why I came to live here was a little bit different!
What equipment do you use to create your images, and why did you select it?
I use a GoPro, Litra lights and Knekt for all my ocean photography and my Nikon gear for when I shoot from land.
What inspires your creative vision?
My desire to keep nature as wild and intact as it can possibly be. I am passionate about conservation and I hope that my work encourages people to protect our beautiful oceans.
Which photographers have inspired you, and how did they influence you?
Paul Nicklen, Thomas Peschak, Cory Richards, Jimmy Chin, Cristina Mitter Meier and Chris Burkard. Their storytelling, authenticity, courageous spirit and compassionate approach to life has inspired me to be open, to stay curious, always to remain connected to the source of life… nature.
How do you feel about the under-representation of female ocean photographers in the surf industry?
It is not only the under-representation of female ocean photographers in the surfing industry that bothers me. It is the additional issue of keeping opportunities for just a selection of people who are close to the decision makers.
It is outrageous, to say the least and nepotism at it’s finest.
What genre of photography brings you the most joy?
Definitely marine animals in their wildest environment.
Can you recommend the best way to develop your ocean skills?
Go to the ocean, try different settings at different times, observe what the sea does in different conditions, times of the day. Watch and listen as frequently as you can.
What has been your proudest body of work?
A photo exhibition I did a few years ago in Ecuador about Ocean Photography! I brought there a small sample of work of four other talented local ocean photographers and them photos got sold!
Have you ever had any experiences in the ocean that really scared you?
Once diving in the Galapagos Islands in one of the safest spots but with a high concentration of Galapagos sharks, a unique species that commonly get close to you and test you in the water. I was diving at 20m deep when one big lady got closer and closer doing tighter circles around me. I had drifted apart from the group so was completely alone with this shark. I had a big reef wall on my left side so I decided to go backwards slowly, and my tank hit a big rock; the sound must have scared her big time because she did a sharp turn and went away…. It was a close call for sure. :)
Do you have some tips for remaining calm in the ocean?
I feel like shooting with someone else always makes me calm; knowing I can trust that person if anything goes wrong is essential when your out in the sea.