Brad running a pro-lap back along a remote beach (just a seasonal fishing settlement) littered with debris following a tropical cyclone. Al-Ashkara, Oman, 2010.
I checked my e-mails on Thursday afternoon and found, to my great delight, that one of my images (shown above) had won the best image award at the Beneath The Waves Film Festival Falmouth event. I was really made up…I think it's perhaps the second time that I've submitted images to a photography competition so to win and have my work exhibited was a real honour. The e-mail was to check that I would be attending the event, which was starting in less than four hours... Luckily Falmouth is just down the road so I made it there in time for the intermission between films and got to enjoy the second half of the evening before making a brief, awkward, appearance on stage next to a wall-size projection of one of my images.
Better on the other side of the camera.
The Beneath the Waves Film Festival is an annual event held in Savannah, Georgia, USA, with the aim of encouraging, inspiring and educating scientists, advocates and the general public to produce and promote open-access, engaging marine issue documentaries. It shows documentary films covering topics such as marine conservation, plastic pollution and ocean ecology whilst providing a platform for scientific discussion. Each year there are a series of mini festivals held internationally, with the Falmouth festival coinciding with World Oceans Day (yesterday, June 8th).
Looking around the exhibition space at The Poly, Falmouth, I was really astounded that my image had been selected for the top honour; there were some incredible underwater images and marine photography that captured such a wide range of the issues found around the coastline of the UK. The winning short movie is well worth checking out, and I would really encourage you to click this link through to Sonia Shomalzadeh's website to watch it. Sonia is an artist based in Falmouth who produces enormous and beautiful images of whales drawn in the sand on local beaches; visible for just a single turn of the tide. The video captures her working close-up, walking the beach with just a pointed stick, before pulling back to a viewpoint on the cliffs above from where the grand enormity of her efforts can be appreciated. Her work is spectacular, take a look.
The incredible sand art of Sonia Shomalzadeh.
This was the first year that Beneath the Waves has been hosted in the UK and, judging by the packed cinema, it was a resounding success. Enormous thanks to Lucie, Sarah, and Phil (who is the brother of an old friend of mine and who I haven't seen in perhaps fifteen years, small world huh) who organised the event, and congratulations for putting on such a great show. If you're around any of the cities listed on the poster below on the dates that the festival is being hosted then please go along and help to support and spread the word of marine conservation.