Melanie Marks, Sharktrusts Wine, Moderator
Brian Skerry, NGS photographer
The key component of being a successful artist is being INSPIRED. ItÕs about getting out to the ocean or to the coral reefs. ItÕs about being in the water. Whether itÕs taking photos of shrimp, eels, or charismatic leatherback turtles. He tries to get pictures of activities that havenÕt been seen by the public eye before. For example, the weaning of a baby seal pup up in St. Lawrence area. The photo stories are usually crafted around a theme, whether of tragedy, or of joy and inspiration. The goal is to evoke an emotional reaction. Depending on the theme, you just have to choose an angle and stick with that theme. Whether itÕs for the issue of illegal fishing, longlining, bottom trawling. We are trying to bring the image of whatÕs in the ocean to people sitting in a restaurant with a plate of seafood in front of them. We need to show people the true cost of a shrimp dinner. Showed images from a trawler that disposed of 12 lbs of bycatch just to get 1 lb of shrimp! Brian showed pictures of what that dinner item looks like alive to help draw a closer connection between what human eat and where it comes from. Usually there is a big disconnect. Images can also be hopeful, like pictures of the success stories of MPAs and ecosystem or species recovery. For example, the MPA in New Zealand (Goat Island). Before shooting pictures, he exchanged stories with scientists, like Bill Ballantine. To learn the whole story. In this case, scientists found out that by protecting Goat Island, species rebounded and ecosystems like kelp forests returned. Ballantine said, they took something that was ordinary and thanks to their protection efforts, the site became extraordinary.
Carl Safina, Author and Founder, Blue Ocean Institute
Carl studied science in graduate school and especially was fascinated by sea birds. He went on to publish what he loved most and hence the creation of ÒSong of the Blue OceanÓ. He decided to write because he wanted to share his observations and inspirations from the field. He focused on Albatros, and the caring nature of albatross parenting and feeding itÕs young. He also shared stories about the polar bears in the Arctic, about the impacts of sea level rise on the tropical islands in the Pacific. Strike the word Environmental out of Environmental Crisis and maybe people will wake up.
Jim Toomey, Cartoonist, Drawing on the Sea for Inspiration
Basically, Jim was just a goofey kid in school, growing up doodling, loving the sea and especially fish. He now has incorporated his love and doodles into a profession that is fun and makes him happy. His pictures help Ôhumanize fishÕ in a way that can help make them lovable and ÔhuggableÕ and fun to everyone else. He has taken his cartooning skills to help on the ocean conservation front too, working with various NGOs like The Ocean Conservancy. He developed cartoon figures for stickers, and various promotional campaigns. (E.g. swordfish). What we need to do next is really help connect consumers with what it is they are eating and where it comes from. Need to consider fish alive in the ocean and not just as a meal on their plate. People are SO disconnected. These fish are much more complex than we can imagine and few really know the full complexity. Showed some fun cartoon developments via powerpoint drawing technology.
Deborah Cramer, Author
For Deborah, her goal was to help inspire people with a connection to the sea. If we can reveal humans connection with the sea and inspire a love for it with words and imagery, maybe we can get people to take better care of it. As authors, it is our job to convey the messages of the ocean. Hopefully her book can inspire people to love and appreciate science. The Sea gives to us, what do we give back? Important to integrate photos with words and messages. (Shared excerpts from her book).
Wyland, Mural Painter/Artist
My goal is connecting people with nature through art. My job is a lifestyle. Seeing the natural world through an artists eye and then sharing it forward for others. He is most inspired by mobilizing youth and getting kids excited about fostering change in the world. He recently finished a mural in Beijing mural after 27 years, painting with kids from 204 countries during the 2009 World Olympics. He also painted a canvas of all the water regions around the world. They attached flags of all the nations onto each canvasÑto show how all these nations are connected through water. Brought the kids together to paint on the Washington Mall. Other project include a launch of the Wyland Clean Water Mobile. Art is a great way to engage kids and see what kids are thinking. You see it through their artwork. They also recently launched a group or challenge called Global Green Artists. Printing on new mediums like bamboo canvass, water-based acrylics. Check out the Ocean Artist Society. Artists are speaking out together with one voice.
For More Information or to get involved contact:
The Blue Frontier Campaign
T: (202) 387 – 8030