Paco Guerrero: Behind the Assignment

  • Jun
  • 14

National record holder Martin Zapanta freediving in Panglao, Bohol.

Behind the Assignment
Our photographer, Francisco Guerrero, tells us what happened on assignment for “Between Two Breaths,” our story on the growth of freediving in the Philippines.

We had a really horrible trip, actually. We started out with traffic in Cebu and horrible weather in Moalboal. By the end of the shoot with JP, we could barely get out of the water. The waves were so huge, the coast guard shut down navigation. It was that bad for that day. Then we finally get to Mactan and the visibility was horrible.

Finally, when we get to Bohol that morning with Martin and Stefan, I couldn’t believe our luck because it was just us in the water. The sun was rising over the cliffs, so the light was really beautiful. We had very little time so after about an hour, we were swimming back and the light was coming through the drop-off. And Martin goes down, I guess to take a picture of the streaks of light. And I go down afterward and take this picture of him just doing his thing.


I just started freediving last year. Complete newbie. Here I am taking pictures of Stefan, a multiple national record holder, and Martin, one of the most awarded Philippine freedivers with his camera; he’s a master of that—of both the medium of photography and the environment of water.

An hour later, I was watching Alenka Artnik, the current female world record holder and the fourth woman to go 100 meters underwater, do her warm-up in the water. I can barely go ten. I mean, come on. It was like our own little private Olympics. You don’t see all these champions and professionals and really, just… be in their element. There’s nothing more beautiful than that.


Photographs by Francisco Guerrero

As featured in
Parting Shot & Between Two Breathes
GRID Volume 05


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