‘This Is The Last Generation That Can Save The Oceans’: Shawn Heinrichs Uses Art To Help Protect The Most Threatened Species Of The Oceans

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Shawn Heinrichs sums up his life philosophy when he speaks of transforming the reckless consumerism of society into one that is made up of relentless conservers. He says that he has made it his mission nor just to make people aware, but instead to inspire them to act and initiate change.

Shawn Heinrichs is an investigative photographer and had traveled to the far corners of the planet. His endeavor has shed light on some of the most difficult and pressing conservation issues facing humanity.

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Quite early in his life, the passion for the oceans led him to do ground-breaking work that fuses dramatic imagery with thought-provoking and intimate stories. His ultimate aim is to link the world community and awaken them to the beauty of marine species and habitats, and warn them of the vulnerability of these life forms.

Shawn Heinrichs has consciously chosen to stay off the beaten track to capture a rare perspective of the marine life forms and their living space, and of the people whose lives are inextricably linked to such life forms and living spaces. And through it, he brings us ace-to face with the most disturbing aspects of international.

Shawn Heinrichs Returns Home To Find The Destruction Of The Final Frontier Of The Planet

Heinrichs grew up along the ocean instilled with an inherent love for nature. He spent his childhood in the South African city of Durban, spending most of his spare time enjoying the beauty of the outdoors; hiking, snorkeling, swimming, and diving.

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He remembers the vibrancy of the oceans of his childhood. He speaks of the innumerable dolphins playing along the coast, the sardines moving up the coastline, the humpback whales, sharks, and an incredible variety of marine life, something unimaginable now.

He moved to Philadelphia, but he still missed the familiarity of the ocean of his childhood. He returned in the late 90s to Durban and noticed that things had changed. The oceans did not seem the same anymore.

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All he saw was an ocean devoid of the vibrancy he witnessed in his youth. He says that the big fish had moved from the seas to the tables in hotels and restaurants, and dried and grounded for traditional medicine. It wasn’t a coincidence he realized. Humanity had descended into a frenzied orgy of death and destruction and was decimating the final frontiers of the planet. Heinrich decided that he would chronicle the dying beauty of the planet before it disappeared forever.

Shawn Heinrichs took his considerable skills as a photographer underwater. He realized that he was on his way to capturing the fading glory of the oceans and in the process warning people of the dire situation the oceans were facing around the world.

Life As A Conservationist An Investigative Journalist

Shawn Heinrichs devoted his life to conservation efforts and as a photographer and investigative journalist has been instrumental in making people aware of the beauty of the oceans and how we are mindlessly destroying them. And in doing so endangering our very existence on the planet.

Read: Sea Of Marmara Choking From Sea Snot Caused By Pollution

Heinrichs finds that the present is indeed bleak as the planet faces mass extinction of species that were even two decades back considered indestructible. 90% of the larger sea creatures have been fished to extinction which will lead to the collapse of the entire food chain. The biggest source of food for humans is on the brink of collapse.

Pollution is another major issue that is destroying the oceans. the massive quantity of plastic being dumped into the oceans is already having repercussions on all plants around the world, even in countries that are not the source of most of the pollution.

The pH balance of the oceans is shifting dramatically. The source of calcium, the very foundation of reefs and shells and essential for marine life forms are dwindling in the oceans.

The collapse of the oceans due to pollution and depletion of resources will lead to the collapse of the main source of proteins for a population of 2B, more than a quarter of the population.

And it could lead to the greatest humanitarian crisis of them all as the hunger of 2B people could transform into a total collapse of law and order.

A quarter of the world population would go hungry and that would not augur well for world peace.

Shawn Heinrichs Captures The Beauty Of The World Through His Lens While Documenting The Mindless Barbarism Of Its Apex Predator

While he has been productive in depicting the magnificence of the oceans and their life forms, he has not limited himself to capturing their beauty. Throughout his long career, Shawn Heinrichs has devoted time to capturing the destructive practices in use around the planet against marine animals.

He has focused much on the barbaric practices followed in big fish hunting. He cites the example of the shark fin trade. This barbaric and gruesome process captures sharks in their thousand, slits their fin, and throws them into the water.

Just the process of filming and documenting the practice was sufficient to induce trauma in Shawn Heinrichs. He had fallen in love with this magnificent creature from his early childhood. And seeing them massacred in their thousand led to post-traumatic stress disorder.

He realized that he needed to acquaint people with the beauty that lay underneath and inform them of the destruction that was taking place. He realized the power of a single image.

Few people knew about the death and destruction that was taking place far away from civilization on the open seas. And someone had to faithfully document that. He had to initiate a conversation centered around such issues. People would only react and respond once they were acquainted with what was happening around them. They needed to know.

Heinrichs made people fall in love with the creatures he so painstakingly captured on camera. He released the Tigress Shark in 2014. It addressed the mindless massacre of sharks around Australia to keep its beaches safe. In his film, a scene shows an underwater performer dancing with the sharks without any protective gear.

The film was viewed by millions witting the first 24 hours and a flood of letters poured in, calling for an end to the culling of sharks. The Australian authorities were forced to backtrack and the killings stopped.

The power of the camera inspired Shawn Heinrichs and it has been his mission ever since. He uses his storytelling and imagery to inspire people to band together to protect the innumerable species that are facing being wiped out altogether off the face of the planet.

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