Photographer Anuar Patjane has spent half his life exploring life below the surface as a diver. The 34-year-old's “Underwater Realm” puts his expertise to good use, illuminating the underwater worlds off the coast of his native Mexico and elsewhere. 

“We need to understand that our oceans are delicate and that they deserve our attention and vigilance,” Patjane tells mental_floss of his series. Some of the photos in “Underwater Realm” were shot around Clipperton Island, for instance, a tropical ecosystem off the west coast of Mexico that conservationists argue is badly in need of legal protection.  

The mostly black-and-white photos are bathed in an ethereal light that highlights just how otherworldly the ocean can be. Featuring a plethora of marine life, including sharks, whales, dolphins, and rays, his underwater series throws into contrast the vast beauty of the ocean with the comparatively tiny size of human divers.

“We wrongly conceive oceans as a limitless source of sea food, but actually most of our oceans are deserts and very few spots down there are full of life,” he explains. “Most of the photographs I created come from those few spots and those few spots are usually overfished.”

Check out some images from the series below, and see the rest of them on the photographer’s site.

[h/t: Wired]

All images courtesy Anuar Patjane.