Ocean Lovers: João Cardoso


Text and photography: Eefje Ludwig


This series (inspired by the project Thalassophiles, originally created and published by Eefje Ludwig on her website) shows people – all residents of Ericeira – who identify with the term thalassophile and who experience the ‘blue mind’. A thalassophile is someone who loves the ocean. Whether we depend on it for happiness, relaxation, a livelihood, a home, or for nourishment, some people simply must be near the sea.

All life on planet Earth started in the ocean

It’s no wonder there is something about the ocean that draws and fascinates us. It is the most omnipresent substance on Earth and along with air the primary ingredient for supporting life as we know it. All life on planet Earth started in the ocean, and the ocean is still part of all life. The proportions of the elements potassium, sodium and calcium in our salty blood are similar to those in sea water. The oceans runs through our veins. Wallace J. Nichols, a marine biologist, introduced the term ‘blue mind’, by which he refers to the immeasurable sense of peace that we humans feel around water. He believes that we all have a blue mind, a mildly meditative state characterized by calm, peacefulness, unity, and a sense of general happiness and satisfaction with life in the moment. This portraits series Thalassophiles is part of the larger project ‘Blue Mind’, an ongoing visual investigative project about the influence of the ocean on the wellbeing on human beings.


João Miguel Fidalgo Cardoso

‘ Life nowadays happens so fast, that feel the urge to slow down, to connect to what is the roots of everything, Nature. The ocean shows to me that, if you are genuine, true to yourself, if you know your place in earth, you will find greatness on your live.’


If there is one word that would describe your relationship with the ocean, what would it be?


I feel I do not give nothing in return to the Ocean

What do you get from the ocean?

Inner peace, tranquility, joy, balance.


What do you give the ocean?

It is a good question, but I feel I do not give nothing in return to the Ocean. I can say I give “him” my respect, My commitment to take care of him as long as I live.

(Everyone who is portrayed in this series describe the relationship they have with the ocean, what they get from it and what they give the ocean. When asked that last question, several of the people Eefje photographed realised that there is little they do in return. This project, therefore also aims to open up the conversation about what we, humans, do for the ocean and how we nurture nature like nature nurtures us.)

Esta publicação também está disponível em | This article is also available in: Portuguese (Portugal)