Personal Work: The Oceans Project

For me, new projects begin in phases. The first phase usually looks like this: “OMG..I need to shoot something! Why am I not shooting anything (for myself)? Where did the last few months go? Look at what so & so is doing, they’re making it happen!” When in reality exploring ideas, stepping back, thinking about what’s important to me and how I should respond IS “something.” It’s part of the creative process that’s the hardest, at least for me. Taking a vague idea and turning  it into an engaging photographic story is not simple. If it was, everyone with a camera (meaning everyone) would be making amazing visual stories with emotional impact. Right?

Figuring out what it is you want to say and how to say it takes time, effort and understanding. You have to get out there and test, explore, write, try, fail, learn, grow, try again over and over and over.

 

Oceans Project: The Atlantic #6

 

So this is where I am, squarely in phase two of exploring a vague project idea. I’m honestly not sure where it will end up, what it will look like or what I’ll discover. My initial goal is to photograph each of Earth’s 5 oceans. Yes, this is going to be a long-term project. A big goal. A scary goal for me to say out loud at this point in its initial phases.

But maybe you’ll keep me honest, inspired and give me the strength to keep it going when it gets harder. All I can say with certainty at this point is that the path for this is not clear but I’m going to try anyway, starting with The Atlantic.

 

Oceans Project: The Atlantic #4

 

Why? I’ve been captured by the salty air, rhythmic sounds and the vastness of the ocean since I was a child. Originally the idea was an excuse to spend more time on the water. That’s the simple truth and I know it was somewhat selfish. But as I thought about it, I’m heartbroken by the changes affecting our oceans. Call it what you will, but the science is there – the waters are warming and that’s having a direct affect on the health and well-being of these massive ecosystems. The giant gyres of plastic are also of great concern to me.

There’s a delicacy to nature that we humans only partially understand. If we don’t attempt to understand and respect what we have, how will we be able to save and protect it? This is why I want to make these pictures. I want to help. I want to build a project to encourage thoughtful conversations. I want to honor the beauty and delicacy that I see when I look out at the water.

 

Oceans Project: The Atlantic #5

Oceans Project: The Atlantic #1

 

Help me, please: I’m open to ideas, suggestions and partnerships as I move forward on this journey. Plus, I’d love to collaborate with fellow visual artists, scientists, writers or anyone with access to the water, boats or planes. Contact me at hlahti@hannelelahti.com

 

 

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