My passion for photographing small critters dates back years before my diving career. I initially started shooting macro photography as a hobby on land, by building homemade flashes out of foil and cardboard boxes. Combining cheap plastic extension tubes with my old kit lenses to be able to magnify my subjects and even get black backgrounds out of it. 

I mastered close-up technics and other compositions by capturing portraits of dragon-flies, spiders and other insect models while living in a vineyard in New Zealand. This hobby became such an obsession; to a point where I was “bug dreaming”. 

This unique and exquisite passion intensified when I discovered the underwater world of Borneo. I was based in a peculiar location, known as Mabul Island: a diving destination haven for underwater macro creatures. Mabul was a humble home for me, and the commencement for my first Dive Master job. I spent 20 months living simply on chicken and rice while practicing underwater photography, and later on, videography. 

Using similar methods to the days I snapped bugs in the vineyard; holding a camera housing while diving quickly became second nature to me.

Ten years later, with 4,000 dives logged and 40+ different countries travelled, I still find the underwater world to be a fascinating and inspiring place. Today, thanks to advanced 4K technology, prime lenses, drones and my unrelenting eagerness; I have become a professional, self-taught underwater photographer and filmmaker based in the most biodiverse heart of the coral triangle. 


My ultimate goal is to spread awareness by sharing my underwater images around the world. We live in a time where parts of the coral reefs and oceans are vanishing at a disastrous rate, as the fragile underwater ecosystem is suffering at the hands of human activities. Yet, not enough is being done to acknowledge the severity of this and the consequences of our ignorance. The reality is that if we do not take action now, the damage will be irreversible. The future of our seas, and the next generation are relying on us to push for conservation. I hope my work will contribute towards awareness, so that we can work together to look after our underwater world for the foreseeable future.

Marcelo Johan Ogata


Marcelo Johan Ogata

Underwater Photographer | Filmmaker

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