DIVING NEWS

Shark guardians seek diver-storytellers

Bottlenose wedgefish, part of a SOSF project to tackle the rhino ray trade. (Picture: Rainer von Brandis / SOSF)

Four “emerging” underwater photographers are being offered fully funded assignments to shoot a conservation photo-story on location.

Swiss-based Save Our Seas Foundation (SOSF), which supports marine conservation and education projects particularly involving sharks and rays, has introduced an Ocean Storyteller Grant that focuses initially on photography as a means of engaging support for its causes.

Renowned underwater photographer Thomas Peschak with Kathy Moran and Jennifer Samuel from National Geographic will mentor the grant beneficiaries, who will get to document an SOSF-specified marine-conservation project for 3-4 weeks next year for a fee of US $350 a day and all expenses.

The photographers retain copyright of their work produced on the assignment but will be expected to exhibit it during all-expenses-paid trips to a photographic festival or conservation conference.

Building on a previous Marine Conservation Photography grant, SOSF says its replacement is dedicated to finding and supporting a new generation of conservation storytellers.

“While we are looking specifically for photographers who can tell conservation stories about our oceans, the call is not limited to underwater photography,” says the foundation. “Applicants should think broadly – story topics can range from the animals themselves to fisheries or the communities whose lives are intertwined with marine life.”

“We aim to encourage new voices with new perspectives. Applicants should therefore have no more than five years of professional experience in any photography-related discipline.” And while 80% of previous grant beneficiaries have come from North America and Europe, SOSF is also looking to widen the pool geographically and in terms of gender.

28 September 2021

Founded in 2003, the SOSF has three permanent research and education centres, in the Seychelles, South Africa and the USA; and, having supported some 340 projects worldwide, announced in July that it was making a record 61 grants in 2021, reflecting an “overwhelming number” of applications.

Direct applications and nominations for the Ocean Storyteller Grant should be made via the SOSF’s grant online portal.

Closing date is 30 November.