L'Art'cherche - Toiles de Mer -  affiche - 2018

Since April 1th 2018, as part of the third edition of "L'Art'Cherche", in partnership with the mairie of Banyuls-sur-Mer, the Oceanological Observatory is pleased to present on the Albert Sagols esplanade, the annual and unpublished exhibition "Toiles de Mer".

125 years after Louis Boutan's first world underwater picture in Banyuls Bay, "Toiles de Mer" gathers superb underwater photographs taken by Bruno Hesse, professional diver at the Oceanological Observatory of Banyuls-sur-Mer.

125 years of underwater photography

L'Art'cherche - Toiles de Mer - panneau histoire - 2018
"The sea, this breathtaking spectacle, celebrated by poets and writers...
All expressed the movements, the constant change, the strength and the gentleness... But under the sea? Who goes under the surface? Who can testify about indescribable jewels or strange and mysterious treasures? We invite you with our researchers and our divers to discover these wonders...
In the framework of the 3rd edition the Art'Cherche, come with us under the surface, come to share our joy always present since the creation of the Arago Laboratory, and since the first underwater photo of Louis Boutan made in 1893 here in Banyuls. Louis Boutan, who like Bruno Hesse, the author of the photos of this exhibition, wanted to share the beauty of the seascapes with you all..." Vincent Laudet, Director of the Oceanological Observatory of Banyuls-sur-Mer.

Two professional divers, Jean Claude Roca and Bruno Hesse, supervise the practice of diving at the Oceanological Observatory of Banyuls-sur-Mer.

Air dives take place in the coastal fringe, mostly between 0 and 50 m deep. It is possible to intervene offshore, and in this case special infrastructures must be put in place.

There are approximately 300 dives per year in the Banyuls and Marine Reserve area. The divers of the Resources at sea are likely to travel on more distant missions for the purposes of research or diving education.

The main activities of the divers are related to the divers security, the reception and supervision of scientific divers, training courses for scientific divers at the CNRS, the use of underwater technology, setting up and monitoring of scientific equipment and underwater photography.

Art and science mix perfectly when it comes to photography.

L'Art'cherche - Toiles de Mer - panneau remerciement - 2018
The potential of photography was used by science, mainly because of the objectivity with which photography reproduces reality.
Scientists were the first to use photography underwater. As often in science, great advances are made when the techniques developed in a field are applied in a different context. This was the case for marine scientists, who more than others felt the need to record and re-analyze what they saw under the sea.
It is therefore no coincidence that the first underwater photo was taken by a marine biologist, Louis Boutan, who "simply" sealed a normal camera.
Since then, photography has become one of the most common tools for marine biologists. But there is an artistic heart in every scientist's mind, and in fact the first photos taken by Louis Boutan do not only record a collection of data, or a morphological study of certain marine species, but also a diver near a meadow of Posidonia oceanica.
So it is the eye behind the lens that makes the difference between an artistic and a scientific photo. Scientists need to collect data in the limited time that they can spend in the water. The artist uses the same instrument, but has different needs and depicts emotions and sensations.
Today, with technological progress, underwater photography has become an activity within the reach of all those who know how to dive, but it remains an indispensable and irreplaceable tool for scientists studying life in the sea.
Lorenzo Bramanti, Chargé de Recherches CNRS

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Observatoire Océanologique
de Banyuls-sur-Mer
1 avenue Pierre Fabre
66650 Banyuls-sur-Mer
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