Photo: David Doubilet

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For National Geographic photographer, David Doubilet, a picture is worth a thousand words: “…Images have to transcend that storytelling medium and be more or less iconic,” he says.

“They need to have the ability to grab people by their hearts and their eyes and later, by their minds. It is an emotional reaction… pictures have an immense amount of power.”

Doubilet is hoping to put that power to good use with his latest National Geographic Live series lecture, Coral, Fire, & Ice, which took him to some of the ocean’s most ecologically precarious environments. These included the frigid waters of Antarctica as well as the “coral triangle” of Kimbe Bay, Papua New Guinea, a place which with every dive, Doubilet explains, “reveals a tremendous concentration of life”.

Doubilet hopes that the pictures from these journeys will capture the extent to which global warming has threatened these vulnerable ecosystems.

“Change is coming”, he notes, and for him, these photographs represent not just captured moments from a “voyage of exploration”, but documentation of these ecosystems as they are now, and as they will, very likely, never be again.

“It still has the infinite joy that it has always had,” Doubilet notes, but it is also a “very sad experience and an enormous challenge and responsibility. That is the difference right now.” (SW)

Jul 27, Opera Theatre, Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Point, $29-124, (02 9250 7777), sydneyoperahouse.com

BY SIRI WILLIAMS