hat motivated you to start SeaLegacy?
Both Paul Nicklen, my partner and cofounder of SeaLegacy, and I have had long and successful careers in nature and conservation photography and we wanted to do something that had real impact. SeaLegacy is structured as a non profit society in Canada with a fiscal sponsor in the US. That allows us to raise funds for our expeditions, which in turns allows us to create very high quality visuals, which are then donated to our conservation partners.
Your team is made up of expert photographers and filmmakers, all of whom have had some background in working with the environment and presumably experiencing the destruction of natural resources first hand. How has this influenced your current work with Sea Legacy?
Everyone in our team is a professional in the visual storytelling arts and we all are veterans of many assignments with top media companies. Many of us also have training in marine science and a great understanding of both journalism and visual storytelling. As someone who has worked within the conservation community for almost 30 years, I recognise that these are skills that are often not found in the NGO organisations that work in ocean conservation, so we fill in that gap by donating our expertise and talent.
What message are you hoping that people will take away from seeing your work?
All our work has a call to action that is aimed at not just inspiring changes in behaviour but also encouraging a more thoughtful participation in the discourse around our role as stewards of our natural wealth and as inhabitants of a very small planet. We also want people to understand that each of us has a personal responsibility to take care of our own actions and to make choices that diminish our environmental footprint.
“Each of us has a personal responsibility to take care of our own actions and to make choices that diminish our environmental footprint.”
our three focus areas are to address climate change, protect marine ecosystems and safeguard coastal communities. Is Sea Legacy making headway with this and is your work having the impact that you’d hoped?
Absolutely. By partnering with organizations that work in these specific areas, we are able to amplify our reach and make our images, stories and messages travel much further. These three areas are at the core of what we believe will be the future of ocean conservation and are also the areas where our expertise can really have an impact.
Can you give us an example of a time another artist or artwork helped you to understand an issue you knew little about?
Author Susan Sontag wrote passionately about the role of photographers in bringing the horrors of war into our everyday lives. “Without war photographers” she wrote “no one would care about what happens in the frontlines of war”. We believe that the war on biodiversity is no different, and our job is to make sure that issues related to the ocean, like climate change, overfishing, bycath, pollution, etc., are not invisible to politicians and the public.
What does 2017 hold for you?
This is an exciting year in which we will be busy with back-to-back expeditions to the polar regions. We will be working hard to amplify our climate change messaging with the aim of alerting the international community to the urgent role of ocean protection in our efforts to stop climate change.
“As someone who has worked within the conservation community for almost 30 years, I recognise that these are skills that are often not found in the NGO organisations that work in ocean conservation, so we fill in that gap by donating our expertise and talent.”
Photography courtesy and copyright SeaLegacy 2017
Favourite book? Rachel Carson’s The Sea Around Us
Favourite film? Gladiator
Favourite band / musician? Ben Howard
If you weren’t a photographer, what would you be? A marine biologist
If you could change one thing about the world today, what would it be? I would make it a requirement for every person to receive a basic course in planetary ecology