Art is my passion, conservation is my purpose, and for me the two are inseparable. I have found art is the most powerful tool I can contribute to help protect the ocean’s most threatened species and habitats. Art is a universal language that opens people’s hearts and my aim is use art in in all its forms to connect people on an emotional level with majestic yet endangered marine wildlife and inspire them to act before it is too late.
Our oceans are in immediate need of protection. Industrial fishing, pollution and marine debris, habitat destruction, coastal development, global warming, and ocean acidification, are all threatening to irreversibly destroy the ocean’s delicate ecosystems. What was once considered an endless source of food to feed the planet is now on the brink of collapse. Many species of fish have now been depleted to less than 10% of their pre-industrial fishing levels in the past 50 years. Not only have we lost over 90% of the population of widely consumed fish such as tuna, salmon, and cod, the ancillary impact of commercial fishing has similarly annihilated thousands of other ocean species. Along all the equatorial and tropical coastlines, delicate reefs filled with biodiversity that evolved over thousands of years to protect coastlines and nourish local communities, are now dying out within a time span measured in years.
I believe art is an essential communication tool in halting the destruction of threatened species and I intend to do my part. By reconnecting people with the beauty and vulnerability of marine species, I intend to ignite a new level of curiosity and passion for marine conservation.
Shawn Heinrichs is an Emmy Award-winning cinematographer, photographer, and marine conservationist, is a founder of Only One and was one of the lead activists and cinematographers for the Emmy-nominated film, Racing Extinction. Most recently, he was featured in the award-winning Netflix series ‘Tales by Light’ that showcased his innovative use of imagery to inspire and drive conservation of one of earth’s crown jewels, West Papua. Fueled by his passion for the oceans, Shawn's groundbreaking work fuses dramatic imagery with intimate and thought-provoking stories, to connect the global community to the beauty and vulnerability of threatened marine species and habitats.
Follow Shawn on Instagram @shawnheinrichs.