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Nature Photographer Reveals The Heartbreaking Story Behind His Award-Winning Photograph

Stunning.

Stunning.

Nature Photographer Justin Hofman reveals the more sinister components that made up his prize-winning image.

Justin Hofman is a wildlife photographer and one of his main focuses is conservation photography. Hoffman travels around the world, enabling him to capture a wide variety of wildlife and also to highlight the different and tragic effects that climate change has on animals. He recently won a competition with a particularly striking image which is both aesthetically pleasing and tragic at the same time.

It’s a photo that I wish didn’t exist but now that it does I want everyone to see it. What started as an opportunity to photograph a cute little sea horse turned into one of frustration and sadness as the incoming tide brought with it countless pieces of trash and sewage. This sea horse drifts long with the trash day in and day out as it rides the currents that flow along the Indonesian archipelago. This photo serves as an allegory for the current and future state of our oceans. What sort of future are we creating? How can your actions shape our planet?
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thanks to @eyosexpeditions for getting me there and to @nhm_wpy and @sea_legacy for getting this photo in front of as many eyes as possible. Go to @sea_legacy to see how you can make a difference. . #plastic #seahorse #wpy53 #wildlifephotography #conservation @nhm_wpy @noaadebris #switchthestick

A post shared by Justin Hofman (@justinhofman) on

As seen in the image above, the photograph captures the sight of a seahorse grasping onto what looks like a cotton bud. You know, those things we use to clean our ears with. It just looks so out of place and raises so many questions. Why is that in the ocean? Why has the seahorse got ahold of it? What does he think it is? The fact is simple; human products and nature need to be kept separate. The ocean needs to stay un polluted. We need to stop tainting nature and wildlife with things that simply do not belong in their sphere of the world.

Photo by @justinhofman We sat in the boat for a very long time, motor off, binoculars up, watching and listening to the distant bowhead whales rolling in big groups and slapping the surface with their tails. Bowhead whales are known to be very shy and sensitive to man-made noise which is why Canada has designated a nearby bay as a bowhead whale sanctuary where visitation and boat traffic is regulated. Because of their legendary shyness, we never expected to see bowheads outside of the sanctuary, let alone have a whale swim over to look at us, but this massive whale did just that. To say bowhead whales are big is an understatement. It was one of the most exciting wildlife encounters of my life. . With @eyosexpeditions & @sea_legacy #bowhead #whale #conservation

A post shared by Justin Hofman (@justinhofman) on

Hopman’s lengthy and insightful caption reveals the main incentive behind his image; to raise further awareness as to the effects we are having on our oceans and on nature. It is easy to dismiss ideas like this, but when you see it explicitly summarised in a photo it’s incredibly hard hitting.

Hofman is doing a great job in raising awareness on this, and hopefully can encourage lots of people to think about these things more and really make a difference. He also has lots of other amazing pictures available to see on his Instagram account and website.

For more thought-provoking articles, read HERE to find out if we are really at the brink of an international recession-yikes!

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Digital Copywriter, Journalist, and Multimedia Content Executive.

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