Chiara is a photographer who specializes in underwater wildlife and fashion. Her underwater portraiture is known for its signature ethereal style. She grew up in Italy, where she began experiencing the beauty of the sea at a young age. In 2010, Chiara graduated from the Brera Academy of Fine Arts in Milan and then moved to California to study photography at Brooks institute in Santa Barbara. She is the co-founder of Project Mermaids, which donates 50% of its proceeds to SaveOurBeach.org. Chiara leads the Italian chapter of Keiko Conservation, a group of international volunteers that have created a platform for people who want to get involved in marine conservation efforts. She is also the co-creator of Mermaids for Change, an organization focused on education, ocean conservation and photography.
My favorite part about being underwater is the changing nature of what I might see, and the constant peace my body and mind feel. In this blue world, I wait for the ocean to surprise me on her own terms, while I feel an instant and long-lasting sense of peace and belonging. The connection our minds have to the ocean is undeniable. After just one breath when I’m in the water, I stop worrying about what’s going on in my life and all I feel and live is that moment! It’s like meditating — with some wildlife interaction as a bonus. The ocean gave me a life that I’m ecstatic to experience every day. Hidden under the surface there is a world most don’t understand, some fear, and many just ignore because it is tucked away.
I’m originally from northern Italy and that’s where my love for freediving and scuba diving originated. I was little and I remember snorkeling and freediving all over the Mediterranean Sea, following my brother, and taking turns using my father’s Cressi fins, which were way oversized for our feet. Later I got into scuba and moved to the U.S. to follow my dream of becoming an underwater photographer, so that I would have the chance to be in the water as much as possible for the rest of my life.
I have had many people influence my life and my path as a person and as a photographer: my family, friends, coworkers, my mentors. But if I had to pick one, it would be the boy that pushed me to fall in love with the ocean when we were little — my brother Matteo, who is now a physicist doing research in Switzerland. He was always the best in every sport, despite being 2 years younger than I. Probably because he was built without any sense of fear, he’s the one who showed me I could dive a little deeper, smile a little brighter, and always have a good time.
Other than spending time in the ocean, I like to travel, usually on new underwater adventures or into the forest and deserts. I enjoy getting lost in nature and discovering new creatures to observe and photograph. I think evolution created exceptional beauty in ocean animals and reptiles and looking for these elusive gems is like a treasure hunt for me. I also enjoy sharing my passion with my family and friends and teaching kids about the ocean and how we can protect it moving forward.
My Gara Modular Carbon Fins — they are not too soft nor too hard on my ankles. They are just the best fins when I’m on the job or out exploring on a fun dive. A happy discovery for me was also the Calibro mask, a low-volume mask with new anti-fog technology. It just sits perfect on my face and it hasn’t fogged once!
I thought Cressi was the perfect fit! I first learned to snorkel using Cressi’s equipment and knowing the company is based in Italy makes me proud to represent their brand. I want to show the world what the ocean has to offer and share the passion for a sport that gave meaning to my life.