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Face to face with giants: Pierre Frolla's new book takes us deep down

Two free divers from the Côte d'Azur, including world champion, Pierre Frolla, took to the ocean to photograph some of the planet's most alluring creatures.

Newly published by Leduc: the book by Pierre Frolla and Greg Lecoeur.

"Océans - Face à Face" is the new book by Pierre Frolla, one of the world's best free divers, and photographer Greg Lecoeur, that take readers on a fascinating journey into the depths of the sea. The launch of the book was held at the Oceanographic Museum in Monaco, in company with Prince Albert II, where the two divers shared insights into their work with the giants and smaller inhabitants of the oceans.

"The key is to treat the environment with respect," Monegasque Pierre Frolla explained the secret behind the extraordinary underwater snapshots. "If you meet animals with respect, with the awareness that we are in their habitat, they accept you, even welcome you." With this attitude, the two free divers, who do without equipment such as oxygen tanks, manage to get close to the most impressive animals such as whales or even crocodiles. The result: impressive photographs that should raise society's awareness of the need to treat nature and its creatures with respect.

When asked if the two were afraid to get close to the huge creatures, Frolla replied: "During our work, we understood more and more that there is no natural hatred or aggression between humans and animals. Everyone has their place in nature, and as long as you respect it, a wonderful harmony between nature and humans is revealed."

"It was a really magical experience!"

Book launch and book signing at the Oceanographic Museum in Monaco. Photos: FH

Greg Lecoeur from Nice described their photo shoot with whales as one of his most beautiful experiences: During a dive, the two discovered a mother whale with her young. A potentially dangerous situation. But instead of chasing away the human intruders to protect her young out of fear, after a while the mother accepted the two divers and even let her young play with them.

"It was a really magical experience!" says Lecoeur. "It changes your whole view of nature, you really feel accepted."

In order not to scare the animals away when taking pictures, the two work almost exclusively with natural light, depending on the species. The pictures are processed afterwards with artificial light, which creates the impressive photographs.

-Finja Hofmann

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