Earlier this year I was awarded the 2017 Ocean Award for Conservation and Research Communication, from Ocean Wise and the Coastal Ocean Research Institute for my "... significant contributions in media, journalism and digital communications related to the ocean." Today, I am travelling to Vancouver to be presented with the award and talk about my book, #Amaze. The event is at capacity but I'll be sharing highlights through my IG stories as the evening progresses. Thank you to those from the Vancouver area who are coming and for the entire team at @oceanwise for this great honour. Image: During summer explorations, I take every opportunity to swim with and photograph jellies. I experiment with lighting, depth of field, and shutter speed. On the last day of our expedition, we spotted this large egg yolk jelly fish just as the sun dipped behind the canopy of the Great Bear Rainforest. I jumped in the water and shared a moment with it - two insignificant creatures in a vast, living planktonic broth.
Watching a baby penguin die is never easy. But as @Ladzinski, @andy_mann, @PaulNicklen and I filmed, we knew that the poor creature, soaked from the incessant rain and coated in thick mud it could not preen off, was not likely to recover. The remote waters of the Antarctic Peninsula nurture staggering numbers of marine species that are critical to the survival of this ecosystem. Unfortunately, this polar region also suffers extreme stress from multiple human activities, including climate change, tourism and the krill fishery. Rapidly changing precipitation patterns are making the situation even more dire for species like penguins. @SeaLegacy is working with partners at ASOS (Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition) in a powerful push to accelerate the protection of key habitats in Antarctica. Visit the link in our bio to learn more.
I love working with experts whose knowledge allows me to witness the intimate, tender and highly complex social dynamics of mysterious creatures, like sperm whales. As I floated nearby, I wondered, how these animals were related? Who are the matriarchs, the troublemaking youth, the caregivers? There is so much we don’t know about our oceans, but moments like this offer us a wonderful glimpse into something worth cherishing and protecting. Thanks @__TomConlin for guiding us to have encounters like this. With @PaulNicklen@email@example.com
GIVEAWAY!! Over the last couple of days, I have signed many copies of my new book, Amaze. While doing so, I find myself wanting to share my book with as many people as possible. With that, I am going to mail a copy to the 100th, 500th, and 1000th person to sign up to to receive newsletters on my new website. You can sign up through the link in my bio and swipe right to see a sneak peak of some of my favourite portraits in Amaze from the past 25 years, starting with this one from Peru. I treasure the memory of this boy and his llama, who is not a beast of burden, but kin, family.
This year I released Amaze, a Fine Art photography book that takes readers on a journey, through a maze, as it were, through two decades’ of my career from the Arctic to the Amazon, and almost everywhere in between. With 160 images, the book is a hopeful message for sustainability, showing readers our planet's beauty and fostering a sense of responsibility in them to protect it. Order a signed Limited Collector's Edition of Amaze for the holiday season through the link in my bio. Only 50 copies of this edition are available. Each comes with a custom clamshell cover, plus three of my favourite limited edition, 11 x 14 Fine Art prints: A Step for Her Culture, The Lady with the Goose and Fishing Girls, autographed, with personal inscriptions available.
We have the power to make the lives of children in Ghanian coastal communities fruitful instead of fearful. I am proud to have partnered with @ChallengingHeights this week to raise funds for a new cold store - an industrial-size walk-in freezer that is able to store over 2,000 tons of fish - that will help keep families in coastal Ghana out of extreme poverty, better enable them to live successfully and sustainably off their waters, and ultimately, protect their children's freedom. Thank you for helping support Challenging Heights' efforts. Continue to donate through the link in my bio.
In the West African village of Winneba, women toil with fish from morning to night, every day, in the company of other women and music. But without the ability to preserve catches, more waste is created, which negatively impacts the health of local fisheries, and the women end up spending more on travel and purchases that what they make back. Families become burdened with debt. Selling their children often becomes a conceivable and very real option. Local non-profit @ChallengingHeights installed a cold store to help these women make a living and keep children away from slavery. Sadly, the cold store has now broken beyond repair, and we need your help to fix it. Please visit the link in my bio to help women and children in Ghanian coastal communities. @sonyalpha
Today I will be signing and shipping all the copies of my storytelling monograph “Amaze” that people from all around the world have bought. I am humbled and in awe at the response this book has elicited in readers. Through the essays and photographs in Amaze, I want to transport people to the place where indigenous knowledge and the beauty of nature intersect. I want this book to be a reason for hope and an urgent call to keep fighting. Saturday is the last day to order to get books before Christmas. It is also the last day when the special clamshell edition with three fine art prints will be available. Go to the link in my bio and share our Amazing planet with someone you love.
Fishermen fight to keep their boat upright as they approach the shore of the historic fishing town of Winneba, Ghana. Despite the incredible amount of effort they put into today’s haul, they will not have great economic reward. The odds are stacked against them because there is no means to preserve their catch. What isn’t sold at the local markets is thrown away or sold at a very low cost, placing struggling families under even more economic strain and at risk of selling their children into slavery under the false promise of a better life. @ChallengingHeights is trying to reconcile these issues by lifting families up and out of poverty and away from child trafficking through education and economic empowerment. Give the gift of hope for the new year to Winneba by helping Challenging Heights purchase a new cold store unit, an industrial-size walk-in freezer that is able to store over 2,000 tons of fish, for the community. You can donate through the link in my bio. @sonyalphafemale
Her name is Edina and she rules the courtyard at her grandmother's humble home. With her smile and sunny attitude, she organizes games for all the children. Poor to the point of hunger, she will not be able to go to school as her family cannot afford it. She will likely marry before she is 15 and she might have as many as 10 children. In the Effutu culture, the more children a woman has, the more status she will hold - a difficult reconciliation for me, as large families and associated poverty are some of the reasons why child trafficking is so endemic in Ghana. How do we help women and children who live on the edge of poverty and depend on healthy fisheries in a way that is both sustainable and profitable? @ChallengingHeights is rescuing child slaves, educating women and helping them invest in skills that improve their opportunities. Go the link in my bio to learn more about @ChallengingHeights’ work and to donate. @sonyalphafemale
She is smart, beautiful, and strong, but because she is a girl, she won’t be able to work on the fishing boats, where she would otherwise earn a modest living. Instead, she is destined to toil as a fishmonger, buying fish that will have to be smoked or frozen in order to be preserved and profitable. @ChallengingHeights, a Ghanaian non-profit, is helping lift women and families in Winneba, Ghana, from extreme poverty to livable wages by installing a cold store and community ovens. But their cold store (refrigerator) is broken beyond repair and, with their economic sustenance at risk once again, the women of Winneba may be forced to give up their children as slaves to the fishing industry. Help support Challenging Heights' efforts to replace this cold store unit and donate through the link in my bio.
I'm excited to share that your signatures, in support of a sustainable future for West Papua, were presented to the West Papuan parliament and it did exactly what we hoped it would do – it demonstrated to parliament that the world is watching. The Perdasus has now been passed on to the Majelis Rakyat Papua (MRP) – the top level of Papuan traditional, or Adat, government – and is currently under review by this council. This is the last step in passing the law and our friends at Conservation International believe that it will be adopted by the end of the year! Thank you for standing with us and lending your voices. It takes a strong, vocal, and global community to protect our planet amidst troubling times, but together we are #TurningTheTide. With @sealegacy@shawnheinrichs@BlueSphereFoundation@conservationid@indonesianoceanpride