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Greg Lecoeur: “Today I want to change the Mediterranean’s image”

Greg Lecoeur’s work has won over 100 international awards © Greg Lecoeur

Both a photo-journalist and committed artist, Greg Lecoeur shares his adventures in the depths and his knowledge on underwater biodiversity. As a nature lover, he has dedicated his career to protecting the seas and raising public awareness of the importance of preserving ecosystems.

A child of nature, Greg Lecoeur grew up in Nice, which he describes as a fabulous playground between the sea and the mountains. As part of the Big Blue generation, the young Greg was drawn to the oceans and marine mammals, which he discovered very early on thanks to his equally keen godfather’s boat.


Having caught the bug, Greg discovered an underwater world full of mysteries, whose secrets he was determined to find out. Then came his studies, where the young man specialised in accountancy, management and then sales, with the aim of taking over his father’s business and building what he thought was the good life;“work, home, car, dog.”

No regrets

A few years later, Greg set up his own company in the Var, but while successful, he was not fulfilled. “When I got up in the morning, I would always check the weather, and then the conditions at sea on the road to work. Every day I felt like I was missing out on a day at sea. So when I was about 30, I decided to pack it all in. I didn’t want to wake up with regrets. I wanted my office to be at sea,” he says.

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It was a bold decision that came as a surprise to those closest to him, but one that he doesn’t regret in the slightest today. So, with the money he raised during his early career, he bought himself a small five-metre boat and decided to make a living from his passion. Off the Mediterranean coast, he would observe many species including dolphins, turtles, and whales, even diving to get closer to them.

© Greg Lecoeur

From one passion to another

“One day I was lucky enough to see a school of pilot whales. It was an absolutely magical experience. I killed the engine and they came to hang off the hull of the boat. There were loads of them, maybe 80. When I returned to shore, I immediately told people about the encounter, but hardly anyone understood or believed it. That’s when I decided to buy a camera to document my adventures and bring back memories I could share with friends and family,” says Greg. A second passion was born: photography.

About fifteen years ago, Greg Lecoeur started off his career as a photo-reporter with a round-the-world trip. Initially thinking he could live from hand to mouth as a diving instructor, he ended up concentrating on photography, creating a world of his own that would be acclaimed the world over: “I would document species that were a little off the beaten track, thanks to local people’s knowledge, which revolutionised underwater photography to an extent and earned me a lot of recognition, including prizes in major nature photography competitions.

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Among other things, Greg Lecoeur is an ambassador for Nikon,  National Geographic nature photographer of the year in 2016 and UPY’s Underwater Photographer of the Year in 2020. A way of getting closer to his project, the dream he dared to dream.

Greg Lecoeur’s many photography prizes © Greg Lecoeur 

The project of a lifetime

Back home after this world tour, he decided to focus on his first love: the Mediterranean. “I have been able to dive in all the seas in the world and I can say that the Mediterranean has nothing to envy the other seas on the planet,”  says Greg. Although there are 500 million of us living around the Mediterranean basin, the sea represents only 1% of the world’s surface area, but contains 10% of its biodiversity. He then founded the We Are Méditerranée non-profit, to showcase the sea, put his knowledge to good use and raise awareness among the general public and schools, but also the major decision makers.

He says, “When my daughter was born, I wanted to get involved locally. We Are Méditerranée was created with the Pélagos initiative, which is the call for projects launched by the Prince Albert II foundation. We then set up the Expédition Pélagos project, which aims to promote biodiversity but above all to raise awareness about the Pélagos sanctuary, from Italy to France via Monaco, which has protected mammals, such as whales and dolphins, for over 25 years. The project combines art, science and education.”

© Greg Lecoeur

Today, Greg Lecoeur devotes himself fully to his non-profit, believing that his greatest and most far-flung explorations are behind him. “I now want to bring my skills to bear for a good cause. Travel less to keep my carbon footprint down. I have explored a lot and today I want to pass it on. Optimise all these encounters and put them to good use,” he concludes. His next project: a photo exhibition about the Pélagos sanctuary that will travel from Nice, to the port of Genoa, and finish in Monaco… while waiting for his next exploration at sea.