Making seaweed sexy

weed_DSC_5746Seaweed has a bad rep. That smelly, slimy goo that takes the edge off your beach holiday or hides who-knows-what when you go swimming.

But if you take the time to look into algae (the scientific group they belong to) you find some stunningly beautiful forms and begin to understand the important role it plays in the marine ecosystem.

I worry that the general publics perception of seaweed is representative of it’s relationship with the marine environment as a whole and one of many barriers to people actually exploring the sea.

So as a researcher I posed the question: How might seaweed, an element of the marine environment that is often perceived negatively, be represented in such a way as to change not only it’s perception, but also the perception of the beauty and potential of the marine environment as a whole?

A new project – “Weed”

Making seaweed sexy – That is the goal of this new research project I am working on.

One of the biggest challenges in marine conservation advocacy is the lack of general public engagement with the marine environment. It is something distant and foreign from their normal life – something they might skim over or dip in on summer holiday, but the submarine environment is generally a place adventurers go to – something they see on TV.

One manifestation of this disconnect is seaweed – often seen as “scary” or “yukky” it is a contributing factor that discourages people from activities like snorkelling.

I want to twist this perception by shifting the context and using seaweed to create something they already consider beautiful – still life photography … in some ways …floral arrangements.

To do this I am creating large still life photographs shot underwater but in such a way to be ambiguous where they are.

In many ways you could consider this an extension of the Kermadecs Project in terms of it’s advocacy for the marine environment.

Follow the project

Read up about the project in the project section of my site. I will be posting regular updates on progress or you can follow it on my Twitter #projectweed (yes – you might find all sorts of other projects with that hash tag!)