#OurOcean Photographers Take Over the White House Instagram

Indian Express
If you follow the White House's Instagram (and if you have any sense, you definitely do), you might have been a little bit confused if you looked on there last Thursday (September 15th). Instead of the usual shots of landmarks, political summits and Obama just sort of Obama-ing about, followers were treated to images of whales, sharks and shimmering coastline.

Hi Instagram, @paulnicklen here. I’m kicking off a takeover of the White House account today with a few other photographers who are passionate about #OurOcean. During a feeding frenzy on herring in #Norway, a humpback whale whips its tail across the surface of the water creating a backlit curtain of seawater. I've been documenting both the beauty and the plight of our planet's polar and our world's oceans for twenty years. The commitments of #OurOcean plus President Obama’s embrace of conservation (he's protected over 550M acres of land and water so far, more than any President ever) is positive change in the right direction. The news today that President Obama is creating the first-ever marine monument in the Atlantic Ocean is an important step. We hope to help this work with the @Sea_Legacy mission of creating high-impact visual communications that propel people to take action to protect our oceans. Producing powerful imagery will inspire people to care. Hope is empowerment and hope is a solution. We want to bridge this gap between information and emotion and restore the ecological integrity of the ocean by protecting 20 percent by 2020. The work that is being done at the #OurOcean conference is so valuable in helping to move us forward toward this vision.
A photo posted by The White House (@whitehouse) on

In the wake of Obama designating the first Marine National Monument, a 12,725 square kilometer section of the Pacific, the presidential Instagram handed over the reigns to a group of photographs with links to the ocean and marine conservation.

Four images were posted, one by Paul Nicklen, one by Bo Bridges, one by Michael Muller and one by Chris Burkard. Alongside each image, the photographers in question wrote a little bit about their work and their perspective on the ocean. Muller, for instance, talks about his decision to step away from glamour shots of celebrities to photograph sea life, paying particular attention to sharks.

I’m @michaelmuller7 and I fell in love with our ocean over a decade ago. In the middle of a rewarding career, I decided to share the focus of my lens between the famous actors, musicians and athletes and our ocean, with sharks in particular. At the onset, I had no idea the number of sharks being killed annually. With my wife, Kimberly, and three daughters I realized that they may never get to see some of the animals I was documenting, and that I should do my part to try and shift people’s perceptions. Years and tens of thousands of photographs later, I am proud that #OurOcean has been created; enabling so many like-minded people to share ideas and strive for solutions to the many crises OUR OCEAN faces today. The time to act is now. No better way to jumpstart that action than President Obama’s move to protect a slice of ocean off the coast of New England, creating the first-ever marine monument in the Atlantic Ocean.
A photo posted by The White House (@whitehouse) on

The common thread linking all four images is, as you might expect, conservation, with several references to Our Ocean, a series of conferences which have been running since 2014, spearheaded by US Secretary of State John Kerry. The 2016 conference will likely draw up a new list of commitments to carry on the momentum set in place by Obama's monumental designation.

A photo posted by The White House (@whitehouse) on

As Paul Nicklen mentions in his post on the feed, Obama has protected more marine territory than any president in US history, and that will likely end up being one of his most significant legacies.

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