After The Fall, The Rise
Between 1900 and 1999 an estimated 2.9 million whales were killed for commercial purposes and in the late 1930’s, at the peak of industrial whaling, the tragic toll rose to more than 50 000 great whales being silenced per annum.
During the 20th century more than 200 000 Humpback whales alone were killed just in the Southern Hemisphere, and by the late 1960’s their global population had crashed to just 5000.
It was a genocide of sentience and possibly our darkest moment as a species where for the sake of capitalistic greed, we saw fit to almost extirpate the largest creatures that have ever existed in our planets 4.5 billion year history.
Yet due to the efforts of an enlightened few, miraculously those 5000 humpbacks were given a reprieve. Slowly but surely, like their annual tropic to pole migration, their population clawed its way back.
For the first decade in the 1990’s that I spent upwards of 200 days per year on the ocean, I saw few if any humpbacks. Then slowly a new plume of spray on the horizon caught my attention, the following year a few more and so it went. By the mid 2000’s there was a noticeable and regular migration on our East coast. Moreover, by the mid twenty teens incredibly mega pods numbering hundreds of these great whales started to be sighted on our cold west coast.
Like our own history, from our near extinction and our subsequent rising from the proverbial ashes at the Southern Tip of Africa, so the Great Wing of New England once again moves along both the warm and cold coasts that flank the tip of the Cradle of Mankind.
In 2021 great numbers of Humpback whales, the sirens of the sea, once again called out to their relatives across oceans filling the sea with a reverberance of hope.
Photographing this huge whale hoisting it’s 18ft fluke aloft in a salute of defiance and celebration is not just a manifestation of an iconic symbol, but rather a visual testament to the fact that given a chance, we can still co-exist, and we can still save what remains.
Classic: 118cm x 83.5 cm (46.5” x 33”)
Large: 146cm x 103.5 cm (57.5” x 40.7”)
Exhibition: 173cm x 122.5 cm (68” x 48”) – AED 45,444