Kuroshio Sea: a City Observed

 Jon Rawlinson has shot a beautiful video and placed it on Youtube for everyone.  It is spectacular.  It is the second largest aquarium tank in the world, the Kuroshio Sea, at the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium in Japan.  The slow motion of the sea life, the black shapes of the people coming to observe this floating city, the music that perfectly matches the rhythm of the rays as they pulsate to the top.  I hope the Discovery channel or National Geographic picks this up as a commercial for a fund for Oceans.  It spurs a viewer to think more about the sea as a culture, a huge culture of life.  

Perhaps it’s what’s been missing when we see aquariums–we never get the grand scale.  But here, the camera moved back and just set to record—we see nearly five minutes of a city under glass under water, the schools of fish flying in formation, the slow galooting of the whale sharks as they pass.  It’s unforgettable.  

What I love too are those people, who are moving not in slow motion, but when they reach the edge of the tank they slow down and stop and we see scale, but we also see the dynamic inherent in saving the oceans:  People must be aware, people must see.  If it were just a video of the aquarium by itself, I think it would have less an impact on me.  It’s the people in the foreground that remind me of where we are, how small we are, and who is observing and why we are important to put in that picture.  

Thank you, Jon Rawlinson.  See his other work here.  I hope the Discovery Channel or the World Wildlife Fund or a new Oceans Fund calls you and asks you for the video.  Everyone should see this on a flat screen TV.  I’m sure it is stunning…

The Photography of Amanda Graham

While many of us know Amanda Graham as both an editor of the Northern Review, a professor in the University of the Arctic and at Yukon College, she is fast becoming, IMHO, one of the best photographers around. She calls it a hobby. I think her work is fascinating. I have borrowed a couple of her photographs for advertising classes at the college, but you really must see her collection on Flickr.

What I love about Amanda’s photos is that she has a great eye for quiet moments. These are photographs that deserve to be much bigger, hanging inside a room where you want to feel peace. Sometimes, I think they bring me solace–that maybe if I look for it in the real world, I’ll find the peace in the chaos. She finds the arrangement, the composition, that brings out the peace in discarded carts, peeling paint, arranged fruit, abandoned rags–and makes them beautiful.

She’s also quick to take advantage of a moment of light, an odd juxtaposition that’s there for a second, revealing something I may not catch if I wait for it to happen. I mean, most of these subjects are in Whitehorse. Can you find them?

I’m reminded of the waltz of the bag in American Beauty. It takes the right eye to see the beauty. But that eye can be trained. And thank goodness, that beauty can also be shared.

Sometimes there’s so much beauty in the world I feel like I can’t take it, and my heart’s just going to cave in.”–American Beauty.

Please take a moment and wander through her Flickr collection. You’ll be glad you did.