Here at Eco Chic Cayman we love to collaborate.  We rise by lifting others. Huge thanks to Eco Chic Cayman’s wonderful contributors.


Michael Maes



Michael’s portfolio (both underwater and topside) covers the polar regions, temperate waters and the tropics. He has a passionate interest for polar bears and Arctic whales.
Originally from Belgium, Michael relocated to Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands in 2008. Although the underwater world attracted him since he started diving in 1992, a dive accident several years later kept him land-locked for a long time. When Ellen Cuylaerts — his wife and a renowned wildlife photographer — challenged him back into the water in 2011, his rediscovered dedication for diving became life changing.
Michael recognized the impact of storytelling through pictures and film and used this platform to create awareness of the remarkable wildlife realm to the broad public. At the heart of his films is showing people the beauty and fragility of this blue planet, from the depths of the warm waters to the white vastness of the polar regions. Michael produces films with integrity, serving to both educate and inform the general public about environmental issues dear to him.
His work has been broadcast on various national television like Nat Geo Wild, Outside Television, CBC. It also received recognition at a myriad of international film festivals; reflecting the ability to translate the need for wildlife conservation onto the screen.
Stemming from a long and successful past in IT, Michael seeks to remain at the forefront of cutting edge technology. His choice for RED Digital Cinema cameras and the superior optics of Zeiss cinema lenses originates from his commitment to capture the perfection of nature under optimum conditions. Although he advocates it is not “the camera taking the picture” but “the person behind the camera”, he also believes technology by itself is an additional tool for filmmakers.
In 2015 Michael was inducted as cinematographer in the Ocean Artists Society, an organization uniting artists worldwide to raise awareness and protect the marine environment through art. Michael is also a founding Navigator of the Central Caribbean Marine Institute; a leading scientific research centre in the Caribbean focusing on coral reef restoration, research on coral resilience, and ocean education.
Michael recently finished a feature documentary – Epiphany – a story about shark conservation, conquering fear, reinventing life and autism.





Ellen Cuylaerts

Courtney Platt


Photography & Video

Lori- Ann Speirs


Guest Writers

Julia Barnes

Julia Barnes is the award-winning filmmaker behind Sea of Life. For as long as she can remember Julia has been passionate about the natural world, but it wasn’t until she was 16 that she realized the world she loved was in serious jeopardy. After watching Rob Stewart’s documentary Revolution and learning that the world’s coral reefs, rainforests and fish are expected to be wiped out by the middle of the century she was compelled to take action. Film was the most powerful weapon she could imagine so she picked up a video camera and set out to make a documentary to raise awareness about the biggest threats facing the ocean. Julia is continues to work on new environmental documentaries and short films.




Tiffany Sillanpaa

Tiffany is a recent graduate from York University’s English M.A. program and also holds a B.A. in English from York. She is editor-in-chief of My Happy Coincidence: A Bog for Art, Literature, & Life where she also writes book and theatre reviews along with life and career advice articles. She loves photography and is rarely found without a camera in her hand.


Alicia Proud

Alicia is a lover of life and a inspirer to all those wanting to lead healthier more fulfilling lives. Island living, from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean. Fitness and food is her thing and she believes life’s attitudes and dreams play a huge part in our well being. Always making time for yourself and enjoying life’s free pleasures.




Marique Cloete, Shark Conservation Cayman

Things I love: The Ocean, Diving, Climbing, Conservation, Food, Travel, Writing & Photography.

Things I don’t love: Apathy & Ignorance

Moved to Cayman Islands from South Africa in 2016 and am in love with this little rock and all the animals that live here (including the Bipeds)

Notes: Johanna Kohler, Dept. of Environment, during the download of the acoustic receiver array on all Cayman islands. Photo Credit: Johanna Kohler

Johanna Kohler

Johanna Kohler is a marine biologist with research interests in shark behaviour and ecology, shark reproduction and human-shark conflict mitigation. She joined Shark Conservation Cayman as Shark Project Research Officer in 2016 and is also a PhD candidate at the Heriot-Watt University, Scotland. Johanna graduated from the University of Cape Town, South Africa majoring in Marine Biology and Oceanography in 2015. She has worked with sharks alongside leading South African Shark Researchers in the past. As part of the Shark Conservation Cayman research team, Johanna continues to follow her passion to study sharks in order to conserve these misunderstood animals. Follow Shark Conservation Cayman on social media to follow her work.




Beatrice studied photography at Sheridan College. She also has a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Education, Masters of Arts and is a certified teacher.  When she’s not teaching or taking photos, Beatrice loves travelling! Beatrice specializes in events, and focuses on anything from movie premieres to weddings. But she also shoots anything else for her client’s needs, such as products, fashion or portraits.



Michelle Lockwood

Originally from the Cayman Islands, Michelle has grown with a passion for the local environment.  From preserving the history and culture to the local sustainable management of the environment that we live in.  After taking a course in University of the environment and legal management of it, Michelle has become a more active member in the community helping with the Save Cayman initiative.  She also has a Master’s Degree in Environmental Science and Law from the University of Sydney, Australia.  More recently Michelle has been dedicating her time to yoga and the power that she receives from breath control and the presence required for a yoga practice.  You can usually find her in the sea on weekends.