Sea-Changers is working in collaboration with passionate and talented UK wildlife photographers over the next few months. Part of this collaboration is a series of Blogs which celebrate their talent, their work, the beauty of the sea.In the fourth of these blogs we introduce Mark Kirkland.
'My name is Mark Kirkland and I’ve contributed to the Sea-Changers photography project to help raise awareness about UK marine wildlife, and showcase how important the work of marine conservation organisations for our seas and shores.
My interest in the sea stemmed from childhood holidays spent exploring the rugged West Coast of Scotland. Weeks were spent in Dumfries and Galloway, exploring deep sandpools and rockpools in isolated beaches or clambering over cliffs at Portpatrick to stare down at the wreck of the SS Craigantlet standing defiantly from the water, only to return each year and see nature gradually win the battle. Logan Marine Life Centre was a small research centre which gave me a closer look at what was under the water, as did Oban Sea Life Centre.
As an adult, this fascination continued and led me to marine fishkeeping. My conscience soon caught up and I decided Id rather see this life in it’s natural environment. Selling my many fish tanks, I starting diving at 25 and picked up a camera a few years later. I now only dive to take photographs. I love sharing this weird and beautiful part of Scotland with non-divers, and to fellow divers I try to capture the familiar in a way which will still excite and captivate them.
As my experience has increased I’m now starting to tap into a creative streak which has lay dormant since I last studied illustration in my late teens. Now at 31 I’m working as a Social Worker near Glasgow and doing a part time university course in the field of mental health. In my free time, I hope to start using my passion for the underwater photography to highlight the dangers facing our wonderful marine environment and illustrate exactly why it is worth saving.
Overfishing is a global concerns and the debates rage on at a local level. I hear many experienced divers telling me they’ve seen numbers and variety of life decline massively throughout Scotland’s coast. As a country with a world renowned fishing heritage which remains the lifeblood of many rural communities, I hope the Government’s sustainability and conservation strategies such as Marine Protected Areas will not only preserve this way of life but will reverse the damage already done to a hidden world which, just it is doing to me, can enchant and fascinate people for an entire lifetime.'