Im an underwater photographer from New Zealand who tends to be drawn to the warmer waters of the South pacific. I'v had a fascination with Dolphins and Whales since I was a child. I was born with an intense passion for Marine Mammals. I just always knew that I wanted to work in their world and honor their critical role in our our ecosystems.
I worked on Dolphins watching in New Zealand for many years before sailing through the South Pacific and finally landing in Tonga. It was the start of the whale season so I jumped ship and rented a house for a few months trying to get out on the water as much as possible. This opened me up to the wonderful world of swimming with Whales and I was addicted. I eventually heard about a job going filming people swimming with whales. I had no camera, no experience and no idea but I was determined to spend more time in the water and observing these magnificent creatures. I bought myself some gear, taught myself how to use it and convinced my soon to be employer that I was up to the task! That was 6 years ago and today I am still working on boats taking people out to swim with the whales. Today I focus more on still photography and my work is constantly evolving. I am always inspired by other artists and conservationists and always striving to up my game and rise to the privilege that I have been given.
I spend my winters in the Pacific Islands totally immersed in their world and my focus is to create imagery of them that might propagate a little more of that awe and reverence in the people who see my work. I have no formal training in the arts, i'm self taught through and through.
My motivation with photography is to give people a sense of connection to the oceans and its inhabitants and elicit empathy in people for the plight of the natural world. I believe that the planet is a living system of which we are all a part of, that we are fundamentally interconnected with the earth and all its life forms. And if we become more integrated to the subtle forces and rhythms of the ecosystems we inhabit, and live more responsibly within them, that might be a good start towards healing ourselves, our communities, and our oceans.
What inspires me and fascinates me is the mutual curiosity and affinity between cetaceans and us. What they can teach us and and how we can co exist in harmony. Countless times I've witnessed the whales initiating contact with humans. Swimming towards us, checking us out, encouraging their babies to engage with us. Its a profound behavior from a wild animal who in theory should be afraid of us. This gives me inspiration as an artist. I am moved to find out more about why whales and dolphins seem to have such a profound effect on us when we see them.
There are so many stories of cooperative relationships between humans and cetaceans. Orcas helping fishermen, dolphins saving surfers from shark attacks, Grey whales approaching boats to be petted, solitary dolphins living in small communities, socializing with humans....the list goes on and on. People are deeply moved when in the presence of dolphins or whales, often overcome with emotion and a feeling of bliss or euphoria. Similar to what people describe when in the presence of a 'Guru' or 'enlightened” person. This is a topic which truly fascinates me and I would like to take my exploration further...watch this space for a doco!
My most memorable moments in the water usually always involve a calf.
Its an incomparable experience when a 3 ton baby whales comes to 'play' with you. Its exhilarating and intimidating at the same time. But the most profound part for me is always the mothers calm, trusting demeanour allowing this experience to happen.
When conditions are right she will rest just below the surface and allow her baby to freely come up and interact with us. She always has as one protective eye on her baby but for whatever reason she humbles us with her gift .... the most intimate and inspiriting wildlife encounter.