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From the large-scale panoramic to the intensely intimate, Exposure: Lives at Sea captures both the extreme environments and everyday sights of our seas and oceans today.
Bringing together photography taken around the world, from the reefs of Mexico to the isolation of Antarctica, the new exhibition at the National Maritime Museum shows us the myriad ways life can be spent at sea.
See just some of the stunning images on show, and learn more about the photographers featured in the exhibition.
(All photographs by kind permission of the artists)
Michal Krzysztofowicz captures the isolation of working in one of the most remote workplaces on Earth, inaccessible by sea, land or air. Once the supply ships leave in the winter, the 13 researchers based at the station are left alone for eight months.
Krzysztofowicz's photographs capture a breath-taking Antarctic world, but also a challenging one for humans. As winter progresses, the hours of darkness increase and the temperature drops to -56°C.
Coral reefs are one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world, but also one of the most threatened. Dr Adler's images reveal the feats researchers accomplish as they navigate underwater realms, assessing the health of our oceans to establish how best we can protect them.
Photography can bring emotion and connection to science and statistics. It can communicate research that wouldn’t otherwise leave the pages of a peer-reviewed journal
Dr Jennifer Adler
Iain Campbell's work reveals the human stories of people working in these challenging environments through evocative portraits and isolated shots of the oil rigs they call home.
There’s an underlying feeling of isolation, volatility and danger offshore. The confined physical environment can be claustrophobic, the natural elements harsh and brutal.
Peter Iain Campbell
Gabriel's photographs serve as a reminder that seafarers are fundamental to supporting daily life in the UK, with 95% of all imports and exports transported by ship. During the COVID-19 pandemic, hundreds of thousands of seafarers became stranded. Many were stuck on ships unable to dock, while others were unable to travel to join their ships.
If this pandemic showed us anything, it's how little we matter for some, and how much for others
Aburto’s photographs document the vital changes local communities in Mexico have made to conserve ocean resources. Despite the communities’ efforts, the effects of climate change mean these delicate ecosystems remain under threat.
Decision-makers can be inspired to make changes if they understand the scientific results we produce. Photography is a very good way to convince them to change in favour of the environment.
Dr Octavio Aburto
Commercial fishing remains one of the deadliest occupations in the world and Alaskan fishers work in an extremely hostile environment, with volatile winds, huge waves, freezing temperatures and long fishing seasons spent far from home.
A science-based management approach has preserved healthy fish stocks throughout Alaska. However, abnormalities in ocean temperatures related to climate change pose a challenge for the future.