Samantha Schwann | Hope Spots | Underwater Photography

Mako | Samantha Schwann

For me, art is a way to join an increasingly important global conversation.

My work concentrates on ecologically unique areas of the ocean designated for protection under a global conservation plan. These areas, known as “Hope Spots” may be large or small, but are selected due to a significant contribution to the health of the ocean in some way: perhaps having a population of at-risk or endemic species; are important nursery, feeding, or mating grounds; a unique aquatic feature; or are a significant contributor to carbon sink.

Dolphin | Samantha Schwann

The images submitted are from Hope Spots which serve as important habitat for large pelagic animals upon migratory routes located off of Baja, Mexico.

The Sea of Cortez Hope Spot is one of three locations in the world where the Mako can be found. The Mako is capable of speeds up to 60mph and able to breach 20 feet in the air. It also has the largest brain to body ratio of all sharks, showing curiosity, intelligence and reasoning skills, even showing preference to researchers who demonstrated kindness. Downgraded to Endangered status in 2019, their numbers are in unsustainable decline due to by-catch and shark finning.

Running deep | Samantha Schwann

The Revillagigedo Archipelago is a tiny chain of volcanic islands located 240 miles from Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, and is an important stopping point for many large pelagic animals upon long migratory routes. Whales, Dolphins, Sharks, Turtles, and Giant Oceanic Manta Rays all congregate here to feed and be cleaned of parasites by the islands endemic reef fish.

“Running Deep” is an image taken at Roca Partida, a mostly submerged volcano which plunges down to over 6000’ depth. The school of fish were being hunted by several large Galapagos shark.

“Dolphin” is the portrait of the matriarch in a pod of resident bottlenose dolphins at the island of Socorro. The scars are from mating and battles with transient pods who come into the area.

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