Do you know that feeling? You see a photo and it captures you right away so you just can’t turn away anymore? I don’t feel like that very often, but when I do that feeling is very strong. It happened to me a couple of months ago: In the National Geographic Online Magazine I saw a picture taken by wildlife photo journalist Thomas Peschak and I was intrigued, fascinated and overwhelmed by it. I love this effect and this power photos can have on me.
Thomas Peschak is not only a world-famous wildlife photographer but also a marine biologist, director of the Conservation for the Save our Seas Foundation (SOSF) and environmental activist. Many of his photos follow the mission to make mankind more aware of the endangerment of animals and our environment. Today he counts among the most influential environmental photo journalists in the world and has received several prizes and awards for his work.
On his website Peschak writes that from early on he knew that he wanted to dedicate his life to the maintenance and protection of the oceans and the underwater world. He became a marine biologist and took part at countless research trips with the goal of making mankind see the urgency of this issue. Soon, however, he realized that all the scientific information he published in his studies contributed very little to change human behavior or to build protective measures. His photos, however, attracted the attention of masses of people and he realized that he could use the power of images in that case as well in order to change the ways of thinking of the public and make them take action.
He writes, “I walk a fine line of creating imagery that both disturb and inspire. My aim is to tell balanced and honest stories that encourage people to revel in the beauty of the ocean, but also to understand how we affect its health.”
I find the photos by Thomas Peschak really breathtaking, although to me the mission and the person behind these pictures are even more impressive. We can’t stress often enough that we as human beings need to take responsibility for all that happens to our planet.
The water in Baja California's San Ignacio lagoon is usually green and murky and photographing the gray whales that come here to mate and give birth underwater is usually very tricky. I spent almost a month working this lagoon and for a short but very memorable 45 minutes I hit the photo jackpot. Clear blue water and more whales then I knew what to do with. Shot on assignment for @natgeo in collaboration with @maresmexicanos #mexico #baja #whales
Hundreds of manta rays gather together in Hanifaru Bay to mass feed on a seasonal plankton feast. I have photographed mantas for more than 10 years, in fact my first ever story for @natgeo Magazine in 2008 was about these incredible animals. It "only" took a decade but now in collaboration with scientist Dr. Guy Stevens @mantaguy I am proud to present the world's first book on manta rays. Thank you to @richardbranson for the inspirational foreword and to @saveourseasfoundation for supporting the making of the book. Check out the link below my bio and follow @mantatrust for more info.
A white shark cruises the clear blue waters off Mexico's Guadalupe island while a Western gull hovers above. The extensive scarring on the flank is the result of either mating (the male shark hangs onto the female with his teeth) or fighting over prey. Unpublished photograph from my Sep 2017 @natgeo magazine story Oceans Stewards about #oceanoptimism in #mexico Written by @erikvance Please #follow @maresmexicanos and @octavioaburto to dive deeper into the marine conservation successes of Mexico.