Photographers dive into fundraising for ocean conservation
Thought Leader: Paul Nicklen
May 4, 2023
A picture of a manatee and her calf relaxing in Florida’s eelgrass and an image of seahorses feasting on plankton late at night are just two of the limited-edition prints that will go on sale this month, as part of an initiative that unites 100 renowned photographers to raise money for ocean conservation.
Set up by photographers Paul Nicklen, Cristina Mittermeier and Chase Teron, 100 for the Ocean will run throughout the month of May, selling prints starting at $100.
The three co-founders believe that art has the unique ability to “bring the world together and give voice to the creatures who depend on the ocean for survival.”
“Photography can provide a window into this mysterious world, showcasing the extraordinary diversity of life and habitat that rely on a healthy ocean,” Teron said.
He hopes that the sale will raise at least $1 million. “With the 100 photographers we have on our team and our community of ocean lovers, we think this is very doable, but it’s not an easy feat,” he added.
Net proceeds go to SeaLegacy Canada Foundation, which will use the money to expand its own conservation efforts, and support other ocean-focused organizations through media connections and documentary storytelling opportunities, according to a press release. SeaLegacy was started by Nicklen and Mittermeier to use storytelling to protect the ocean.
According to a paper published in 2020, investments of $175 billion per year will be needed to conserve and ensure sustainable use of the ocean, to meet United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 14 — “Life Below Water.”
“As a small group of photographers, we’re just going to raise a drop of that,” Mittermeier said in a press release. “The hope, however, is that we’re going to shine a spotlight on the ocean.”
“Ensuring our own survival”
The ocean faces many problems; more than 17 million metric tons of plastic entered the ocean in 2021, a figure that is projected to double or triple by 2040, according to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals Report 2022. It also faces threats from warming, overfishing, and acidification.
“The health of our ocean determines the health of our planet. When we protect the sea, we are not only safeguarding the countless species that call it home, but we are also ensuring our own survival,” said Teron.
Curated by Kathy Moran, former National Geographic deputy director of photography, 100 for the Ocean features prints from world-renowned photographers including Steve McCurry, Jimmy Chin and Joel Sartore.
Teron added that the purpose of 100 for the Ocean resonated with many photographers, who saw it as an opportunity to create a lasting impact through their art.