David Doubilet’s opening talk at the LOOK3 festival placed the bar high: very high. This advocate for ocean preservation—dubbed by festival curator, Vince Musi, as the underwater Henri Cartier-Bresson with influence beyond the pages of National Geographic—showed his riveting work and amused the crowd with his satirical charm. His beautiful tales from the Hopkins Islands, the St. Lawrence River, Okavango Delta to Papua New Guinea plunged the sold out Paramount Theater into a magical world unbeknownst to most.
Taking up photography with a Brownie hawkeye camera placed in a rubber anesthetic bag at the age of 12, David essentially used the technique to escape the nagging sounds of his mother above the pool water. Doubilet’s entertaining stories of setting up an underwater studio to shoot slugs and treat them as fashion models did not detract from the stark reality of drastically declining numbers of sharks and manta rays, dolphin slaughtering in Japan, melting icebergs and coral reef erosion.
He succeeds at making pictures that astound, amuse and open ones eyes to the ocean. As he succinctly states “…one cannot protect, conserve and preserve the oceans without illustrating it… to convince those that are unconvinced”. Tonight we were convinced that David Doubilet is a wonderful documentarian of the obscure expanse that covers 70% of this planet.
(by Catherine Bischoff)