Silent Kingdom: A World Beneath the Waves

A powerful new volume by Christian Vizl is a call to action for our future


The ocean covers over 70 percent of the planet we call Earth. Over 80 percent of this vast underwater realm remains unseen, unmapped and unexplored. The ecosystem that makes our lives possible remains a mystery of shadows and darkness.

Though humans do not reign, nor fully understand, this alien realm, our actions have impacted every part of it. Ancient, once-pristine regions of the oceans are forever altered as we spew heat-trapping emissions and acidify the seas. Areas that hold the secrets to the origins of all life are polluted with the plastic items we use for moments of convenience and then discard. We remove, kill and commodify sea life in quantities beyond comprehension, while carrying a burden of synthetic chemicals in our veins.

But our situation is not beyond repair. Our species is equipped with qualities and skills that can redeem our actions. We have the tools to see and explore our world from perspectives earlier generations never knew. Underwater photography is a moving reminder of that fact.


“We are all participants in what is going on in this world and we can play a part in creating a better future. We can change our lifestyles and overcome the destructive habits we have inherited from our ancestors. We can shift in a new direction to create a future that benefits all living creatures and preserves the life and beauty of the world.”

– Christian Vizl


“Before the 1960s, no one had been to the deepest place in the sea or high enough in the sky to see Earth as a living blue speck in the enormous, lifeless expanse of the known universe. No pocket-sized devices existed that could make voices, images, and vast amounts of information instantly available to anyone anywhere.”

– Sylvia Earle


A few years ago, Parley spoke with Christian Vizl about the inspiration behind his poetic, black and white underwater photography. His recently released first book, Silent Kingdom: A World Beneath the Wave, presents a powerful ode to the beauty of intelligent life within the depths. In the absence of color, the focus is instead placed on the form, texture, movement and rhythms that define our life-giving ecosystem.

Each photo is a celebration of the magnificence of life in the oceans and a call to action to protect what ignorance and dated normalities now threaten. In addition to Vizl’s imagery, an introduction by Sylvia Earle and essays by Michael Aw, Ernie Brooks, David Doubilet and Nora Torres speak to the fragility behind the beauty, reminding us that we have much to learn about—and from—the “others” with whom we share our home.