11 Sep

The Living Sea – Fragile Beauty
The Ismaili Centre, London

6 September 2022


Good evening.

Thank you all so very much for coming.
Welcome to the Living Sea/Fragile Beauty exhibition.

It is the greatest privilege and joy to share the work and be among you all tonight.
I can’t even begin to express my gratitude to all of those who have been involved
In the project in one way or another over the past few months or even years.

None of what you see happens in a vacuum. The images are only raw product.
The invaluable and outstanding work behind everything else was done by President Naushad Jivraj, the Ismaili National Council for the UK, fantastic volunteers and the staff of the Ismaili Center,
Antonin Potoski, Patrick Codomier and Mike Lappin for the photography work,
Katy Payne and her team at the Natural History Museum,
Emilio Gil, Jorge Garcia and Lorenzo Gomez from TAU Diseño.
I would also like to thank my wife, the FON family, Ben Bird and my friends who accompany me on expedition.
Apologies if I’ve forgotten anyone.

The images around you this evening represent some of nature’s treasures and the most joyous moments of my life.
Instants one couldn’t put into words if one tried.
From crazy whales to hungry cormorants, curious turtles to scarred and hooked sharks,
mating dolphins to playful sea lions,
graceful mantas to magnificent angelfish and mischievous blennies.
Perhaps the only common thread among the species are the threats they face.
Climate change including acidification, coral bleaching and sea level rise; habitat destruction,
overfishing, plastic pollution and more.
A third of all dolphin and whale species are threatened with extinction.

There has been a 71% decline in oceanic sharks over the past 50 years.

Six out of 7 sea turtle species are threatened -- including the greens I often photograph and critically endangered hawksbills I adore.

Manta rays are being slaughtered in the thousands for their gills.
Half of all coral reefs have been lost since the 1950s and up to 90% of the Great Barrier Reef has been affected by bleaching events.

Somehow we have turned abundance, health and diversity to penury, disease and rarity.
Our activities have brought on an un-brave new world.

And while individual photographs here don’t necessarily demonstrate some of the hardships our oceans and their denizens suffer … it is their wonder that I attempt to share with you and their protection I hope to encourage.
In that regard I’m overjoyed that some of our guests tonight come from Fins Attached, the Manta Trust, Whale and Dolphin Conservation and Trillion Trees.

Thank you all so much again for your efforts and/or attendance.
I hope that you enjoy the show.