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.
Photography: 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.