Under The Sea: Ganden Medved-Po Uses His Passion For Ocean Photography For Wildlife Conservation - Arts & Culture

The 17-year-old son of Hope founder Nanette Medved-Po collates his underwater shots of marine wildlife in Life Below Water.

Ganden Medved-Po is making use of his skills to benefit our oceans. The 17-year-old is the son of Nanette Medved-Po, the actress turned social entrepreneur and founder of Hope, a water bottle initiative that has been donating toto educational, agricultural, and environmental causes since 2012. 

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On the other hand, Ganden makes use of his passion for photography to remind us of our connection with nature, particularly the ocean. In partnership with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in the Philippines, Nanette’s eldest son published Life Below Water. The book gives us a sight of the underwater world, covering 70 percent of our earth’s surface. 

Important conservation

The Philippines covers a large portion of the Coral Triangle. This network of coral reefs surrounds our country, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Malaysia, Solomon Islands, and Timor-Leste.

Due to this, our country boasts rich marine biodiversity. According to earth.org, just the distance between Luzon and Mindanao has “more marine species per unit area” than other places worldwide. 

Although Ganden’s book with WWF focuses on ocean photography, his inclination toward nature photography as a whole is evident on his photography account, @gandenpotography. You’ll find images of animals with short descriptions championing his message of humankind’s connection to nature through the Instagram feed. 

Educating through photography

“In the grand scheme of things, gorillas are only two percent genetically different to humans, yet only recently have we valued their safety, wellbeing, and important contribution to our ecosystem,” Ganden writes in a caption of an image of a mountain gorilla. “Guhonda, the largest and oldest gorilla in Rwanda, is the leader of the Sabyinyo troop. Upon spending around 30 minutes with them, I began to understand: gorillas and humans are not so different after all.”

The teen is mentored by dive gear company owner and wildlife photographer  Scotty Gutsy Tuason. “[Underwater photography is] a slippery slope. It’s a big commitment. It’s not just a matter of putting your iPhone in a housing and just going underwater. You need to shoot great photos. It’s very technical. You need a lot of time,” Tuason tells ANCX.

Tuason adds that just one of the ways Ganden’s commitment to the underwater craft is seen whenever he’s up earlier than his mentor and preparing his camera equipment in advance. “He’s a very motivated, committed young man. You didn’t have to tell him or guide him so much because he kinda knows what he wants. I just give him advice,” Tuason continues in the piece. 

In another post on Ganden’s Instagram portfolio, he mentions the sensitivity of sea creatures. “A painted frogfish lays on the sand barely 2cm long. Any change in their environment could harm them.” he writes in the caption. 

Beyond his joint goal with WWF to preserve decaying nature, the high school senior at International School Manila educates his hundreds of followers through digestible information on wildlife conservation.

Banner photo from @gandenpotography. on Instagram.

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