The BLUE Ocean Film Festival launched last night with a crowded gallery showing of BELOW, an exhibition of the breathtaking sea life imagery by renowned photographer David Doubilet.
Most of the images on display in Monterey's Portola Plaza celebrate the cheerful and weird beauty of marine life, like this baby green turtle swimming to relative safety through azure waters to the open ocean.
But one corner of the exhibition reflects the grimmer reality facing many of the ocean's most magnificent creatures. A trio of photos shows a blood-red pool where spinner dolphins are trapped for slaughter; a fisherman cutting a live dolphin's neck; and a pile of dismembered entrails and dolphin heads.
A pair of young women merrily dancing in front of them seemed symbolic of how easy it is for us land mammals to ignore the massacre.
Later, Congressman Sam Farr took the microphone from BLUE Co-Founder Debbie Kinder to extol the importance of the festival, legislation supporting ocean conservation and "the blue revolution."
"Let's figure out how to do no harm to the ocean," he said. "We've been killing it all these years, and now we've learned how to stop it…but you have to develop people who appreciate that."
He said efforts like BLUE help "to get the photographers, the artists, the poets, the writers, to get that new necessary breed that's really going to bring together that meeting of land and water. You can't just have knowledge about one side and not about the other."
Doubilet then joined Farr at the mike, joking that he'd tried but failed to get the city of Monterey to change its name for BLUE. "It doesn't work, the song, 'It Happened in Manta Ray,'" he said.