10 years to photograph the ocean in all its forms

From the richness of the Coral Sea to underwater volcanoes, photographer Alexis Rosenfeld will travel the seas of the planet under the sponsorship of Unesco, a 10-year mission in images intended to raise awareness of the “dramatic” situation of oceans.

“The situation of the Ocean is dramatic, biodiversity suffers a lot, but people see it less than what is happening in their garden”, explains to AFP Vladimir Ryabinin, executive secretary of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of Unesco , which sponsors this operation “1 Ocean, the great testimony on the ocean”.

“There is a proverb which says: far from the eyes, far from the heart. It is an important project because it is an answer to this problem”, continues the Russian scientist.

The project, which is part of the United Nations decade for ocean sciences in the service of sustainable development (2021-2030), wants to “highlight the wealth and threats weighing on the ocean through 1,000 photographs”.

A bit like the adventure “Earth seen from the sky” by photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand, but under the sea. And “with a more scientific and more committed dimension”, comments Alexis Rosenfeld.

Before exhibitions planned later around the world, a first dive into this universe will be unveiled on the forecourt of the Gare de Lyon in Paris from March 4. Like the images of a first mission in the Coral Sea National Park, off the coast of New Caledonia, interrupted by the Covid in 2020.

Alexis Rosenfeld in Marseille in November 2017 (AFP / Archives – BORIS HORVAT)

“It’s an incredible place. The quantity of animals per cubic meter is worthy of a cartoon, of the imagination of Jules Verne”, tells AFP the photographer-diver who displays on the counter “more than 10,000 hours below the surface “.

“It is the area considered to be the most pristine and the richest in the world,” he continues, seeing it as a means of “demonstrating the importance of marine protected areas”.

The ocean, increasingly ill with the absorption of CO2 generated by human activities, is at the heart of the planet’s climate challenges, but also threats to biodiversity.

This great testimony “above all photographic” will focus in particular on the means of making the corals more resistant to warming, on the “ghost” fishing nets which continue to fish after being lost at sea, on the little known underwater volcanoes. or the proliferation of Sargassum algae.

Operation “1 Ocean” will also include texts and “making of” videos, as well as testimonials from personalities from the world of art, science or sports who will talk about their relationship with the ocean.

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