Keith Ellenbogen is an accomplished underwater photographer. He began to learn about the ocean and marine life at the age of sixteen as a volunteer assistant aquarist at the New England Aquarium (NEAQ), for Steve Bailey, Curator of Fishes. Today, some twenty years later, Keith and Steve remain life-long friends, dive buddies and professional colleagues. Keith says “Bailey was one of the most influential people in my life,” by fostering his interests in the underwater world.
Looking back, as a volunteer at the NEAQ, Keith experienced first hand about the role the oceans play within our global marine environment. Keith’s first experience underwater was in the Giant Ocean Tank, which is comprised of Caribbean marine animals. As a high school student (from Newton, M.A.) and part of the aquarium team, he also participated in a ‘collecting trip’ to catch tropical fish in the Bahamas. While on this trip, Channel 5’s Chronicle show happened to have sent an underwater photographer to film the expedition and Keith says from that point on, he was hooked. “I said Oh My God, this is fantastic! I can’t believe that people can do this for a living,” as he contemplated the integration of nature and film. Upon returning to Boston, Keith acquired his first camera, a Nikonos-V, and started taking pictures off the coast of Gloucester.
Keith went on to find his own voice for making his unique contributions to the underwater world. Through his photographic lens, he sought ways to explore and disclose it’s hidden beauty through the medium of photography, and bring global images home through numerous publications – with a purpose of inspiring others toward the same affinity for nature that the NEAQ brought him earlier in his life..
After receiving a MFA from Parsons School of Design in Design and Technology, Keith was awarded a U.S. Fulbright Fellowship to Malaysia. His purpose was to showcase visually compelling images that reveal not only the magnificent artistic beauty of marine life, but also the environmental threats. This year abroad was another turning point that solidified his choice of underwater photography and videography as a visual platform to inspire positive social change about our wonderful ocean environment.
Keith is deeply committed to connecting the arts and sciences with education. He works with world-renowned environmental scientists and international conservation-based NGO’s. For example he spent three months in the Mediterranean Sea photographing the endangered Atlantic Bluefin Tuna on an annual migration to reproduce. Keith also worked with Conservation International, partnered with The New England Aquarium, to capture images and stories for the launch of the Ocean Health Index.
While Keith works for a number of organizations, he describes the New England Aquarium a “home base” for his ongoing inspiration and unfolding work. Last summer, working with marine mammal trainers and the marketing department, Keith photographed the California Sea Lions for the 2012 New England Aquarium summer advertising campaign “Mischief Loves Company.” He also joined the New England Aquarium/Monterey Bay Aquarium on an diving expedition to Fiji with his long-time buddy Bailey and other dear colleagues.
Most recently, Keith was selected as part of the New England Aquarium expedition to the remote Phoenix Islands where he worked with Heather Tausig VP of Conservation program and the lead Phoenix Islands Protected Area NEAq Associate Scientist Randi Rotjan to share visual stories that highlight the marine science, conservation and create awareness about one of the worlds most important coral reef ecosystems. “I am fortunate to work with these amazing scientists. It’s an exciting and important challenge to expose their work through an artistic and journalistic perspective of the camera lens—both above water and below.” He hopes his photos will help inspire yet another generation of scientists, artists, and educators – all with the singular goal of protecting the earth’s natural underwater beauty and majesty for all to see and enjoy.
When he is not on assignment, Keith lives in Brooklyn New York. He is Faculty member in the Photography Program at Parsons School of Design. You can learn more about Keith at www.bluereef.com or at the NEAq Live Blue Profile Page.
Weston resident and current freshman at Dartmouth College, Emily Mead, quietly wants to make sure that the children of a small island nation in the Phoenix Islands have the learning tools they need to express their creativity and have some fun. Summer volunteering at The New England Aquarium, Emily learned that the children of Kanton island, part of the Phoenix Island Marine Protected Area (PIPA)) are so isolated, a thousand miles southwest of Hawaii, that obtaining basic supplies can be a challenge. When The New England Aquarium Marine Coral Scientist, Dr.Randi Rotjan and Ocean Photographer Keith Ellenbogen were planning the 2012 PIPA research expedition to study the thriving marine life, Emily saw an opportunity to reach out to the island’s Minister of Education who then provided her with a wish list from teachers, educators and children. Along with the scientific experiments, camera equipment, crew and experts, a box carefully stowed in the expedition boat containing a special message and thoughtfully assembled by Emily, was hand delivered at the end of the long trip across the Pacific.
The children of Kanton where delighted that someone oceans away took a special interest in their tiny island and sent letters of thanks, sparking a budding pen pal relationship with Emily Mead. Through Emily’s connection to this far away place, she has learned about the importance of Marine Protected Areas for ensuring revitalization for endangered marine species and economic stability for the habitants of the surrounding islands.
PIPA is one of the largest Marine Protected Area and a Unesco World Heritage Site. It seems so far away but Emily’s story is just one of many that connects us to this beautiful fragile and endangered ocean world. On April 2nd, Women Working for Oceans (womenworkingforoceans.org) will present “Take Only Pictures and Leave Only Footprints ” with Dr.Randi Rotjan and Photographer Keith Ellenbogen at the Simon’s Imax Theater/New England Aquarium. Randi and Keith will take us on an ocean adventure, featuring the people of Kanton as well as the Phoenix Island Marine Protected Area, highlighting this pristine ecosystem through science and photography that will educate and inspire conservation.
Tickets are on sale HERE or on our “Events” page at womenworkingforoceans.org
I went shopping last week with a friend who has a membership to BJ’s and was reminded why I have let my own membership lapse. Once you are sensitive to the single use plastic issue, it seems like the plastic monster is everywhere and that the entire universe is bathed in the stuff. Natures finest gets wrapped and encased. I thought I would choose a carton of milk over the plastic jug…and, as you can see, this didn’t work out for me. Selling two at a time with one price and plastic wrapping the two milk cartons together! You have to wonder who thinks this up!
I decided to try Stop and Shop. First stop was the produce aisle. I needed some celery for a recipe I was thinking of making. I caught up with a person stocking the items and asked what she thought about the celery being in plastic and whether or not there was some purpose for packaging them that way and she sweetly said “Oh, thats how they come.” She then looked at the quizzical look on my face and she laughed and I laughed and we had a discussion about how easily we say these things forgetting that produce doesn’t start out its journey in plastic wrap.
I did find a carton of milk!
Massachusetts is a place where we value our ocean frontage, its beauty, magic, and its ability to give us recreation and sustenance. At W2O we are watching carefully as the protection of fish stocks collides with the protection/support of our local fisherman and fish related industries.
Off the coast of New England, our stock of Cod, the fish that Massachusetts calls its own, is “on the verge of extinction” according to scientist. Making real change so that the fish population can recover while supporting the efforts of our local fisherman and fisheries is a topic that our state has struggled with since the beginning of the decline of the once abundant Cod population from decades of over fishing. If confirmed, the new rulings on allowable catch this year will have a huge economic impact on the fishing community. If nothing is done, Atlantic Cod will be the fish that we will regret not saving from extinction.
From the New England Aquarium: “On January 30, the New England Fisheries Management Council met to decide on allowable biological catch (ABC) limits for cod in fishing year (FY) 2013 (which begins on May 1, 2013). This decision had been delayed since last year by the Council’s request for a new Gulf of Maine cod stock assessment to ensure the findings from the 2011 assessment were accurate. The results of the most recent Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank cod assessments show that both stocks have been overfished, with overfishing occurring every year since the beginning of the time series (1982). These results are in accordance with previous results, both the original Gulf of Maine cod stock assessment and the new one came to the same results.”
Here are some links about this topic (in the news today and some archival information) that might help you understand this huge issue.
For the: Anchovy Filling
1 cup Italian parsley, chopped fine
4 anchovy fillets, chopped fine
2 garlic cloves, chopped fine
¼ cup panko bread crumbs
Extra virgin olive oil or butter as needed
Salt and pepper
Method: Combine all ingredients in a in a food processor and puree to a paste. Add some extra virgin olive oil or butter as needed to make the paste smooth. (You may add water instead to cut down on fat content.) Place filling in a plastic pastry bag and set aside.
For the: Olives
24 green Sicilian olives
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs, whipped
2 cups Italian bread crumbs
Canola oil for frying
Method: Fill each olive with the anchovy filling. Roll each filled olive in flour (make sure the olive is completely covered with flour), then dip in the egg (again make sure the olive is completely covered in egg.) Finally, roll the olive in the bread crumbs. Place olives in the refrigerator for at least an hour so the breading adheres. When ready to serve heat oil in a sauce pan to 325 degrees. Place olives in the oil, 8 at a time, and fry until golden brown. Serve warm.
Seems like every day there is a new reason to discuss climate change. In this Boston Globe article, Hurricane Sandy reminds us that Climate Change is a National Issue that has been overlooked during this years election campaigns. If you want to hear more about Climate Change, come to to this months Lecture Series at the New England Aquarium. Our civic leaders won’t talk about Climate Change unless we demand that they do. By educating ourselves about the topic we can encourage conversation and action.
W2O would like to thank Lisa Hughes for her cleaver questions, clear objectives and never ending picture posing at our Roadside Assistance: Driving Change on our Streets and In our Oceans Event on October 23rd. To our Panel-the day was clearly a success and our audience feedback is that each of the panelists inspired them to think of cars and the purchase of their next car as a catalyst for the opportunity to make a difference for our environment and our oceans. The big take away-consider changing habits about how we choose when buying a car (and we are reminded that there is so much to look forward to with new technology and design)
and never ever idle!
Boston Globe October 21, 2012
By Cindy Cantrell
DRIVING CLIMATE CHANGE IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION: Since founding W2O (Women Working for Oceans) last year, Weston residents Barbara Burgess and Donna Hazard have raised awareness of the importance of sustainable fishing practices and the danger of plastic residue to fish and seabirds.
On Tuesday, they will host a discussion of how limiting fuel consumption and car emissions can lessen global climate change. The event, “Roadside Assistance: Driving Change on Our Streets and in Our Oceans,” will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the New England Aquarium Simons Imax Theatre at Boston’s Central Wharf.
A panel discussion will feature Arlington resident Ray Magliozzi of “Car Talk” on National Public Radio; Herbert Chambers, owner of Herb Chambers Companies; Scott Griffith, chairman and CEO of Zipcar; and Eric Evarts, associate auto editor of Consumer Reports. The moderator will be WBZ-TV news anchor Lisa Hughes, with additional remarks by Boston resident Bud Ris, president and CEO of the New England Aquarium.
A selection of environmentally friendly cars will be displayed outside the aquarium, courtesy of Herb Chambers, which is also donating a blue Vespa to be raffled off.
Hazard and Burgess, whose husband, Bill Burgess, is the aquarium’s trustee chairman, said their nonprofit organization’s mission is to inspire and empower families to make responsible consumer decisions.
“Buying a ‘green’ car isn’t a sacrifice anymore,” Hazard said. “It’s smart and innovative, and with gasoline selling at about $4 per gallon, it can also save you a lot of money.”
Tickets, including a vegetarian boxed lunch, cost $50 and may be purchased at 617-226-2143 or womenworkingforoceans.org.
The New York Times today gives us information from every prominent scientific organization on climate that now is the time to pay attention to the signs of warming in our oceans. This article, primarily about the decline of the ice in the Arctic, talks about the significance of the ice melt as a catalyst for trapping the sun’s heat as the white of the ice is replaced with the dark ocean, in turn, melting more ice. Research scientist at The Snow and Ice Center, Walt Meier, says that “the Arctic is the earth’s air-conditioner” and that “it’s not just the polar bears might go extinct, or that the native communities might have to adapt, which we’re already seeing-there are larger climate effects.” Dr. James E. Hansen, a prominent NASA climate scientist, warns that “the scientific community realizes that we have a planetary emergency.” Time for all of us to take emergency action by reducing “human release of greenhouse gases” and take responsibility for the part we all play in this scenario.