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.