Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic translation of an article originally written in French. I apologise for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have resulted. If you read French, click on the French flag below to access the original, correct text:
The article appeared this Friday, April 10, 2014 in the evening editionthe new digital newspaper launched by Ouest-Francefor which I work. This article is unfortunately no longer available online, but I have made a PDF version, which you can read by clicking on the link or image below:
Laurent Ballesta is the man who photographed the mythical coelacanththe oldest fish in the world. It was in South Africa, in 2010 and in 2013, during dives to 120 meters deep.
He has just published a book, with a preface by Nicolas Hulot (his former partner in the TV shows Ushuaïa), on his extraordinary expeditions. It is entitled Gombessa: meeting with the coelacant, from the local name of the famous fish. A film will also be broadcast on Arte in May 2014.
Laurent Ballesta will be present this weekend at the Salon de la plongée 2014, at the Parc-Expo of the Porte de Versailles in Paris. On the program: exhibition, signing sessions, conferences (Saturday at 4pm and Sunday at 2pm). If you are there, these are really moments not to be missed...
Biologist and photographer, this specialist of deep rebreather dives talks about his quest for the coelacanth with a communicative passion: "These are the most complicated dives of my life, the most committed, the most difficult, he confided in me during the interview I did with him. You experience 30 incredible minutes with the animal, in 120-150 meters of water, and those minutes are worth an eternity..."
An eternity that is costly... He and the other divers of the team still have to go through 4 hours and 30 minutes of decompression before they can return to the surface.
Below is an excerpt from the Gombessa I expedition documentary, later posted on YouTube:
Laurent Ballesta : "A story between natural history and lived history
Laurent Ballesta didn't want to just publish a beautiful book of photos about the adventure of the Gombessa project. So he decided to write in the first person.
"I consider myself a wildlife photographer, but I wanted to accompany my images with a story, like telling a long journey, he told me. The coelacanth is a very personal dream, one that I've had deep inside me for so many years... I tried to find a happy medium between the tasteless and the shameless, between the natural story and the lived story."
I haven't read the book yet, but our conversation has made me really want to dive in!!!