Fourth Element Fourth Element
profile picture

FRANCO BANFI

Franco Banfi - Experienced photojournalist specialising in underwater subjects and stories

Franco has dived in all the oceans of our Earth, improving his skill as photographer and his love for wildlife and conservation of biodiversity, flora and fauna.

His works have been published in dozens of magazines around the world. In the last few years, he has published several stories in BBC Wildlife, Dive, Diver, Focus, National Geographic Italy, Nature Best Photography, Ocean Geographic and Sport Diver. His images have also been featured in magazines such as BBC Wildlife, GEO, National Geographic, Scuba Diving, and in countless publications worldwide.

Franco has home in the southern part of Switzerland, in a cosy village close to Lugano Lake. Franco began to dive in the 1981, in the Lake of Lugano. At the beginning, he dived the fresh waters nearest home, especially lakes and rivers, where the water is clearer and he was able to improve his photographic technique. Then he travelled everywhere he could, documenting wildlife and human relationship with nature in environments from the Equator to the Poles.

He documented: in 2002 the Crocodylus porosus (salt water crocodile) in Papua New Guinea; in 2005 Somniosus microcephalus (Greenland sharks) in Arctic and Hydrurga leptonyx (leopard seals) in Antarctic; in 2006 the Sardine run and the Galeocerdo cuvier (tiger sharks) in South Africa, the Carcharodon carcharias (great white sharks) in Guadalupe - Mexico; in 2007 the Physeter macrocephalus (sperm whales) in Açores, the electric reef in Bali Island, the Alopias vulpinus (thresher sharks) in Philippines, the Eubalaena australis (southern right whales) in Peninsula Valdes - Argentina ; in 2008 the Carcharhinus Leucas (Zambesi sharks) in St.Lucia – Cuba. The many destinations and different projects he covered are a clear evidence of a versatile wilderness photographer.

As some other professional photographers, he believes that the formula of success in photography isn’t only due to the cleverness in shooting unusual subjects or common subjects from a different point of view. A large part of the success results part from science, part from expedition skills and part by human relations skills. With the help of him partner and model Sabrina, he recently succeeded in illustrating relevant interactions between people and underwater animals.

In this sense, their works with the Manta Birostris in Revillagigedo Archipelago (2005) or the Mola-mola (Ocean Sun Fish) in Nusa Penida (2006) or the Dosidicus gigas (Humboldt squids) in Loreto-Baja California (2007) awakened a great deal of interest.

“It is exciting to be in the vanguard, providing the recent documentation of pelagic species that are hard to photograph and I feel a deep emotion when a wild animals accepts me, allowing me to approach near at hand, as close as possible. All these kinds of different interactions happened in the very short time of few dives”.

Franco is an award-winning photographer (World Champion in underwater photography in Cuba, 1992) and he regularly takes part at international photo-competitions as BBC Shell Wildlife Photographer of the Year, the Travel Photographer of the Year, Glanzlichter Project Natur and fotografie, etc. He received top honours from the photo-competitions Wildlife Photographer of the Year, Nature’s Best, BBC Photo Competition, to name the most famous. In 2007 he won the Gold Award at the Celebrate the sea photo competition.

Image Gallery

  • franco banfi
  • franco banfi
  • franco banfi
  • franco banfi
  • franco banfi
  • franco banfi
  • franco banfi
  • franco banfi
  • franco banfi
  • franco banfi

Photos courtesy of Franco Banfi

Other Members

back arrowBack to all members