«REFLETS» exhibition – photos of seascapes
Art has the power to inspire, provoke and fascinate. But can it be used as a science communication tool for our oceans and the marine environment? The answer is clearly yes! The arts are becoming more and more a medium for channeling environmental awareness and for conveying science to the general public. Sometimes artists are not even aware how they subconsciously can influence. Because art-based science communication can deeply engage people by triggering their imagination and most importantly their emotions.
One photographer, who is passionate about the sea is Maria Natascha Beirens. Her passion for photographing the big blue started only a few years ago. “The big blue is my playground and my office. I photograph seascapes and underwater galaxies” says Maria Natascha. The Blue Reporters visited her current exhibition «REFLETS» with photos of seascapes and interviewed her about “Art as a marine science communication tool – Photography”.
In your eyes, how do art and marine science connect?
“We are both observers and storytellers, studying the sea to have a better understanding in order to communicate our message to the world, each in our own way.
It’s because of having knowledge about the rules of the sea, and many hours of observing the big blue, that I can make those photographs. Passionate as I am about the sea, I end up with questions that need answers and end up reading scientific papers.
I recently found a marine science lab, where artists are invited to work together with scientists. I love the idea.”
Have you ever heard of the term marine science communication or ocean literacy?
“Yes, I bumped into these terms while searching for information about oxygen in the sea. It’s fabulous more organizations, like The Blue Reporters, are making huge efforts to teach us about the sea and also create environmental awareness.”
How could your work be used as a valuable science communication too?
“I reflect my love and respect for the sea into my photographs. Showing my fascination for the water, whether the sea is calm or raging, what happens in a small wave or when human interaction is involved. The sea and I create an imaginary space. I’ve been told my work has a positive psychological effect. So my hope is that people look in a different way to the sea and show her the respect she deserves.”
Art Science Communication – a way to connect the wider public wth EU Directives
In contrast to this alive description of the sea stands the policy language of the EU. In respect to the sea, one main goal of the EU is to achieve good environmental status of marine waters. Specifically, in Article 3 of the Marine Directive, it is written: “The environmental status of marine waters where these provide ecologically diverse and dynamic oceans and seas which are clean, healthy and productive”.
One can wonder, how shall the wider public connect with these definitions? Isn’t it more important how one is visualizing and feeling about clean and healthy oceans? And how can these emotions be connected to the policies?
Art as a marine science communication tool is definitely the way towards it. It could connect the wider public with EU Directives. With such emotional triggers, as done in Natascha Marias «REFLETS» exhibition – photos of seascapes or during awareness campaigns on ocean pollution, the wider public could embrace the problems of our oceans and feel more responsible for keeping our oceans clean and healthy.
More information about the Photographer Maria Natascha
Maria Natascha’s current exhibition can be visited until the 22.03.2017 at Institut Français d’Athènes, Sina 31, 10680 Athens. More information about the Natascha Maria on her website www.nataschamaria.com.