5 minutes to read

Diving into the Depths with Bella Rose Bunce

Exploring the Intersection of Passion, Art, and the Ocean.

Transcending her landlocked childhood in Somerset, UK, Bella Rose Bunce found the inspiration necessary to pivot from marine biology to photography in the coastal haven of Cornwall. With a lens that captures the raw beauty and undeniable power of the sea, Bella has been able to turn her innate need to live close to water into her full-time job. Her passion for the ocean and experience amongst the waves shows up in the candid images she produces for her clients, mostly surf brands or organizations committed to preservation. Currently living a very low-impact lifestyle inside a van parked on her friend’s sandlot in Falmouth, we chatted to Bella to understand how her relationship with the environment influences her life and informs her art.

Photography: Abbi Hughes

OGYRE – Hi Bella. Tell us all about your story. Where do you come from and where does your passion for the ocean come from?

BELLA ROSE BUNCE – I am from Somerset in England, about two hours away from any surfing coast. However, my love for the ocean was ignited at a young age, and I always dreamt of living in Cornwall. After attending university in a beach town called Falmouth, which was just an hour away from where I live now, I have been fortunate enough to call Cornwall my home for the past seven years. The proximity to the sea fueled my passion for the water and the environment. Instead of following the conventional path of moving to a big city like London, I decided to stay in Cornwall and build a career centered around the ocean, which has always been an integral part of my life.


OGYRE – Did you always want to be a photographer, or was that something that you came to realize later?

BB – Initially, I had aspirations of studying marine biology, considering Cornwall's excellent schools in that field. However, due to my struggles with studying, I decided not to pursue that path. Instead, I turned to art. The vibrant arts community at the university in Cornwall felt like the perfect fit for me, as I couldn't envision myself living in a city. Little did I know that photography would eventually become my means of researching and capturing the beauty of the ocean. It's a powerful way to document our environment, and I feel a deep sense of fulfillment combining my passion for the sea with my artistic expression.

Screenshot 2023-06-28 at 10.23.16Photography: Bella Rose Bunce

OGYRE – How would you describe your personal relationship with the ocean?

BB – It's difficult to put into words because it's more than just a relationship—it's a fundamental part of who I am. We are all connected to the ocean in some way; for me, being near it is necessary. I grew up learning to surf and found solace and refreshment in the water. As I integrated my love for the ocean into my photography career, it not only made sense professionally but also significantly improved my mental health. Nowadays, it's not just about the ocean alone; it's about being immersed in nature as a whole. Living in a caravan in a field has allowed me to cultivate a deeper connection with the environment, tending to veggies, embracing ritualistic routines, and finding solace in all aspects of nature.


OGYRE –  What do you wish to convey through your work?

BB –  In an era dominated by screens and social media, I feel conflicted about contributing to the Instagram culture. Therefore, through my photography, I strive to inspire people to venture outside and appreciate the beauty of the natural world. Whether it's capturing the vibrant colors and light of the ocean or showcasing the joy and flow of surfers, my goal is to encourage others to experience the wonders of nature firsthand. By avoiding excessive posing and focusing on genuine happiness and connection, I hope to motivate people to immerse themselves in the sea and embrace its therapeutic benefits.

OGYRE –  Do you have any specific memory or experience that impacted your relationship with the environment?

BB –  It's a tough one because I'm incredibly fortunate to be immersed in the ocean scene and get paid for it. Every time I'm out there and the conditions are rough, I remind myself how amazing it is to bob around in the water for hours, capturing moments of friends and the ocean. Surfing and shooting in Mexico recently stand out as an incredible experience. I had the chance to meet and photograph some of the world's best longboarders while seeing turtles, flying stingrays, and flying fish. The people were lovely, and it was an opportunity I wouldn't have stumbled upon if I wasn't involved in the ocean and surf scene. Being a surf photographer and a surfer myself allow me to travel and see the world in a unique way, guided by the waves and connecting with welcoming communities along the way. One of my most significant memories dates back to when I was 13, on holiday with my friend and her dad in Devon. They introduced me to surfing and catching what I thought were big waves at the time, an old local legend cheered me on from the water. That day remains etched in my mind, inspiring me to pursue this sport and hobby that has shaped my entire being. If that experience hadn't been welcoming and positive, I might not have continued on this path.

Screenshot 2023-06-28 at 10.22.58

Photography: Bella Rose Bunce

OGYRE – One last question, what does caring for the Ocean look like to you?

BB – Caring for the ocean should be caring for yourself. It should go hand in hand. It shouldn't be that we have to actively go out and care for it. It should just be that we just respect it.


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