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Internationally renowned ocean and adventure photographer Ted Grambeau has created a beautifully abstract body of work in hope of bringing our attention to the very real issue of climate change. For over forty years, Melbourne born Ted Grambeau has been consumed by his quest to capture the world through his lens. An obsession that has led him on a journey to nearly 100 countries, exhausting over a dozen passports. “Photography is more than a passion, it is my Life.”
Known for leading adventure expeditions into remote locations in search of undiscovered waves, Grambeau is most at home deeply immersed in the ocean. With formal studies in Illustrative photography at RMIT University in Melbourne, Grambeau communicates an intimate relationship with ‘light’, a sophisticated understanding of it’s various expressions – the refraction, reflection and absorptions. The documentary nature of this project requires that Ted be at the waters edge before dawn, when most of us haven’t even thought about opening our eyes.
When he’s not chasing monster waves half way around the world, he prefers to live by the ocean on the East Coast of Australia. Finding balance, Ted keeps life ‘low key’ but when given the opportunity to share his thoughts on photography an animated creative is revealed. He is inspired by the Masters Henri Cartier-Bresson and Sebastião Salgado. A photojournalist style is expressed in his work after having spent his formative time assisting the great Magnum legend Burt Glinn of New York.
Ted has titled this body of work ‘SEALEVEL - The Art of Awareness’. A project that’s close to his heart, with a majority of these images being captured just footsteps from where he lives. At first glance it’s a stunning collection of abstract imagery that has organically evolved from a lifetime journey of photography. On deeper investigation you feel mesmerised by these timeless moments, reflective images that document the truth of an event: the invisible nature of climate change. “Through my lens I’ve captured magical moments, dancing light and glimpses of the sea, her many moods, observing the nuances of light, it’s complexities and varying interactions with the elements – each image with a personality so expressive, beyond unique in tone and form.” As Ted explains his views on environmental issues, he touches on the frustration he feels towards climate change and the urgency of action that needs to occur before our sea levels rise beyond the point of no return. “The effects will be devastating before we actually notice.” he says. “My wish is to bring awareness to one of the major environmental issues of our time, the global event of climate change and the silent rise in our sea level through the medium of Fine Art Photography.” Ted is one of the world’s great surf and ocean photographers.
Over the past 30 or so years he’s had more surf magazine covers than he can remember, his CV of magazine articles, expeditions, movies and books is an afternoons read in anyone’s language. He studies and monitors weather maps and understands the intricacies of an impending swell forecast well in advance. He has travelled to locations that will be lost, submerged under water once the sea levels start to rise due to the change in climate. “I feel my contribution is best expressed via my photography.” He goes on to say “I’m not an environmental scientist but I respect the opinions of the overwhelming majority of climate scientists in the world.”
Excited by the prospects of exhibiting his work again, Ted reflects on the first time he exhibited SEALEVEL - The Art of Awareness’ at the Pipeline Gallery in Hawaii. Special guests like Kelly Slater and leading environmentalist Jack Johnson came along, with wife Kim selecting a few pieces to hang in their home on the North Shore. “It was really interesting to see the response. Friends in the surf industry who were more environmentally conscious and artistic were attracted to it. It was a little bit outside the box for a lot of the public.” “It’s nice to use my photography in a positive manner and that I have something to give and make a contribution for spending a bit of time on the planet.”