Please introduce yourself, and tell us a bit more about your work and how you protect the oceans?
I am Mark Andrew B. Badiola from the Philippines and I am a PADI Dive Master and an underwater photographer. I host workshops and teach people underwater photography and editing as well. I’ve been scuba diving ever since 2009 which started my advocacy for protecting the ocean. Later on I started out my hobby for underwater photography which then became my passion.
What do you think of what we’re trying to do at Beach Collective?
I believe that what Beach Collective is trying to do is admirable since it advocates for ocean conservation, while helping other businesses that are all for ocean and environmental protection. It is always nice to see organizations coming together and participating in bringing change and social responsibility towards something that affects many people.
What’s your proudest moment in your career as an underwater photographer?
As an underwater photographer, one of my proudest moments was when I worked with the BBC for a news article about how the use of PPEs (Personal Protective Equipment) and its improper disposal affected marine life during the COVID-19 outbreak - still on-going right now in the Philippines. The article went viral and many news anchors asked for an interview so that I could share more about how PPEs were affecting coral reefs and the ocean in general. It was one of my proudest moments because I got to participate in making change and spreading awareness about ocean protection, particularly as most people nowadays tend to ignore these types of environmental issues. It was truly an honor to share my passion and advocacy to more people and I am proud of myself for being an initiator for change.
How do you think photography can inspire people to take better care of our oceans?
Photography can help inspire people to take better care of our oceans as it can show how beautiful marine life is if it is properly taken care of. It can help give people a new perspective about showing care and responsibility towards the ocean while building awareness and promoting environmental education. Through underwater photography, I can show people a new story and a new vision to people who aren't aware how beautiful marine life is.
Can you remember the first time that you realized that we needed to take better care of our oceans?
I was made aware during my open water course as a dive beginner and after joining several community dive clean ups. It has struck me how this affects us in our daily lives - plastic pollution contributes to microplastics that we digest as well due to the sea animals being affected and harmed by it. I think now is as good a time as any to start turning things around.
What inspires you?
I find inspiration from the sense of community within scuba diving. I have met countless friends, and was also able to pull in my family into enjoying scuba diving. I have met numerous other underwater photographers and I was able to hone my craft of underwater photography. Venturing out to see what the ocean has to offer in terms of sea critters has helped me to be more vocal in regards to advocating for ocean conservation.
What do the oceans mean to you?
Tranquility and exhiliration. I am most at peace when I am at sea. I have been on numerous adventures during my time as an underwater photographer and scuba diver.The ocean has a way of enchanting us and intriguing us with mysteries of the depths unexplored.
See more of Mark's work on his Instagram page.