Nestled in the safety of the tentacles of it’s anemone, this tiny clownfish was just begging to be photographed. I’m thankful to the movie Finding Nemo for teaching the world about the relationship between clownfish (“anemonefish” is actually more appropriate) and the anemones in which they live. But as a cartoon, it barely scratched the surface of how fascinating these creatures are, both independently and in their symbiotic relationship.
Countless times, I’ve told the story of the massive bleaching event that overwhelmed Papua New Guinea’s reef, while discussing the image “A Beautiful Tragedy”, and this shares the same details. During the summer that I shot both mages, a few anemones bleached, but they all recovered after a few months. During that time, I was able to create images that were both beautiful and alarming, and I have never seen such an event before or since. The normally metallic-green anemones were stark white for a few months, but due to the care of their anemonefish, they all eventually regained their color and began to flourish once more.
I feel this image compliments A Beautiful Tragedy, but it speaks in an entirely different way. ABT, with it’s bokeh, presents a moodier, almost surreal vision, whereas Bubblicious is a charismatic portrait that connects us directly to the fish, with it’s pint-sized pugnacious stare.
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