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Dr. Alex Mustard Underwater photographer

Even those that have never seen the ocean depend on it for every breath they take

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Part of the solution is to remind people of what is at stake and celebrate the magnificence of the underwater world. I love to photograph portraits of the ocean’s inhabitants, revealing their splendour, their behaviour and their personality.

About the photographer

Economists tell us that the annual value provided by the oceans is 21 trillion US dollars. That number is so huge that it means very little to me. Far easier to relate to is that in the last breath that you took, half of the oxygen comes from life in the sea. Even those that have never seen the ocean depend on it for every breath they take. The seas also provide billions of people with food and habitats like coral reefs, mangroves and seagrass meadows protecting the coastlines.The oceans absorb much of our waste and shield the planet form the worst impacts of climate change. And they are a place of recreation and wonder, which you could never put a value on. But they are also suffering and unhealthy oceans can’t provide any of these essential services properly. Even the furthest reaches of the ocean still feel mankind’s heavy footprint. In May this year, explorer Victor Vescovo descended 10,928 meters into the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean finding rare marine life alongside a plastic bag and food wrappers. Plastic pollution might be the ocean’s most visible problem, but the less visible threats of climate change and overfishing are even more deadly. The issue of plastics in the ocean has become a mainstream concern because the
public has responded to the visuals. But the challenge remains that the bigger issues facing the ocean are much harder to illustrate. Part of the solution is to remind people of what is at stake and celebrate the magnificence of the underwater world.
I love to photograph portraits of the ocean’s inhabitants, revealing their splendour, their behaviour and their personality. If people think of marine life as scaly, slimey fish, they won’t care for their fate, but when they can see them as individuals, filled with character, and see glimpses of the complex lives they do care. As Baba Dioum said in 1968: “In the end we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we know.”

Discover the Gallery

» PURPLE RAIN « Clark’s
» THE GREAT SPAWN « Star Coral
» JELLY SOUP « Golden Jellyfish
» WHISKERS TWO « Striped catfish
» WATCHING YOU « Saddleback Anemonefish
» SNAPPER SCHOOL « Bohar Snapper
» SAY AAAH « Striped Mackerel
» WHISKERS ONE « Harbour Seal
» KING AND THE CASTLE « Basking Shark and St Michael’s Mount
» RIG DIVER « Cormorant, Mackerel
» FOREST LOUNGE « Californian Sea Lion, Giant Kelp
This portfolio is featured in Edition Fifty Fathoms 2019 Book.
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