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Telling stories of marine life in photos

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GOING to beaches as a child and becoming aware of the concerns for the environment led 17-year-old photographer Ganden Medved-Po to publish a photography book focusing on the ocean.

“As my perspective matured, I watched the world change. And I was exposed to life behind the facade of beauty. The detriments of the ocean and nature we are facing were due to climate change and unethical practices,” Mr. Medved-Po, who started taking photos using his parents’ camera, said at the online book launch held via Zoom on Sept. 18. “Understanding the interconnections between my world and nature, fueled by passion to make change, to protect it, all had to start with my own personal action.”

The young photographer is the son of Christopher Po, chairman of Century Pacific Food, Inc., and Nanette Medved-Po, the founder and chairperson of HOPE and Plastic Credit Exchange. Outside his responsibilities as a senior high school student, Mr. Medved-Po is also a member of the WWF-Philippines National Youth Council where members — whose ages range from 16 to 24 — participate in programs aimed at environmental protection.

A joint project with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) — Philippines, Mr. Medved-Po’s book, Life Below Water is a compilation of photos he took of scenic seascapes and surreal marine life. The cover shows a sea butterfly.

“I began to work with the WWF, and eventually that led to me joining the National Youth Council. My work with WWF has many wonderful opportunities, including the Life Below Water book,” Mr. Medved-Po said during the book launch.

“Life Below Water is a young person’s experience of the ocean, expressed through his chosen art of photography. The book is a reminder of why, what, how, and for whom we do our work of protecting our oceans,” WWF-Philippines Executive Director Katherine P. Custodio said of the book.

Mr. Medved-Po took the photographs in Anilao, Batangas and Palawan, under the mentorship of diver and underwater photographer Scott “Gutsy” Tuason.

“My mentorship with [Ganden] started when he was in his tweens, when he first came to [my diving gear] shop. I don’t get a lot of people in the shop his age looking for underwater cameras so it was really quite refreshing to have Ganden come over there with his mom,” Mr. Tuason said.

“The experiences are more raw underwater. What you see in documentaries and what you read, will give you the secondhand experience but it’s not the real thing. When you’re underwater with everything, you feel the actual connection to nature, and I think that was one of the really strong parts about it.”

All proceeds from the sale of the book will benefit the sustainable fisheries work of the World Wide Fund for Nature – Philippines.

Life Below Water will be available by end October at the WWF-Philippines website (https://wwf.org.ph/). — Michelle Anne P. Soliman

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