Monday, September 10, 2012

Ron Taylor - Shifting Baselines!

Source: Wetpixel.
I just found this remarkable video.
The person who posted it here appears to know Ron Taylor well.
Indeed, Ron was quiet to the point of being positively self effacing, and I remember many precious hours spent in his company, silently, taking in the spectacular oceanic seascape of some remote destination.
Obviously quite recent, the post is a beautiful and fitting portrait of this gentle man, and I'm taking the liberty of re-posting it in its entirety.
Ron Taylor has not been well recently and is now very ill.
The short movie 'Shifting Baselines' that I just received this week shows how Ron visits the marine national park in Indonesia with some of the most famous "Diving Hall of Fame golden oldies" and some younger professionals. This may have been the last expedition they undertook together as group of underwater filmers, photographers and passionate ocean activists. They have seen with their own eyes how the world's reefs have been destroyed, oceans are being polluted and shark and fish populations have gone down since they became pioneer divers and photographers.

Ron, throughout his career, has worked hard to show to the world the beauty of the underwater world, the interesting behaviors and individual personalities of reef fish and other marine wildlife.
In this movie however, we see a different part of Ron. Here he sits in front of the camera, next to his Valerie, the famous and beautiful lady who always speaks so clearly about her great concern for the ocean and its marine life. Now it is Ron, who in his typical quiet way, tells us how he is so worried that people today cannot experience anymore what was there before in the ocean. We may think all is pretty and peaceful if we jump in the water today, but he has seen it all change so drastically. The youngest generation of divers may be fooled to think that what they see is pristine, whereas it is only a fraction of what it should be.

Ron was never the outspoken person, he was always behind the camera focusing his lens on all the underwater beauty and mystery.
His work shows his love for the ocean and respect for everything in it. But with this film he also shares with us the important message that we should not forget what it really once was and how much work there is to be done to get it back - if we still can. The only alternative will otherwise be to watch stock footage of the people who were there in time to record it.
I also don't know who shot the video.
The Seven Seas is the legendary Komodo liveaboard  of Ron and Val's nephew Mark, so it may have been Mark or his brother Jono who are both accomplished underwater cinematographers in their own right. It obviously features the better days of the Komodo National Park that has alas been going to shit ever since Mark stopped working for TNC and the permit was yanked away from its management team by the Indonesian government.

But I'm digressing as usual.
The video features Ron and Val, and many common friends, truly the crème de la crème of what Douglas so fittingly calls the last generation of the original divers. Please do spend a moment to understand its incredibly important message about shifting baselines.


1 comment:

OfficetoOcean said...

Loved that little film, really, really loved it.