The ocean covers over 70% of the planet. It is our life source, supporting humanity’s sustenance and that of every other organism on earth. The ocean produces at least 50% of the planet’s oxygen, is home to most of the earth’s biodiversity, and is the main source of protein for more than a billion people around the world. Not to mention, the ocean is key to our economy with an estimated 40 million people being employed by ocean-based industries by 2030.
Although the ocean has many benefits it is now in dire need of regeneration. "With 90% of big fish populations depleted, and 50% of coral reefs destroyed, we are taking more from the ocean than can be replenished. To protect and preserve the ocean and all it sustains, we must create a new balance, rooted in a true understanding of the ocean and how humanity relates to it. We must build a connection to the ocean that is inclusive, innovative, and informed by lessons from the past." - UN World Oceans Day
Enter Rocio Segura. Originally from Spain, the New York-based fashion photographer has a passion for the planet, specifically the oceans. Her recent work 'Mediterranea' created exclusively for IRK Magazine, celebrates World Oceans Day and is a dreamlike depiction of the future of the sea. Filled with beauty and devoid of toxic and harmful pollutants. Segura is on a mission to change the fashion industry, using her camera as a transformative tool for good.
We caught up with Rocio in NYC and asked her the essential 5w's, while she gave us the sneak peek of her inspiring photo story 'Mediterranea'.
WHO are you?
My name is Rocio Segura, I was born and raised in Spain but moved to NYC when I was 22 years old. I graduated from NYC's School of Visual Arts with a master's degree in Professional Studies in Digital Photography. I can describe myself as a highly sought-after Freelance Photographer & Art Director. My work is inspired by nature and oneiric beauty, which, merged with my high energy and adventurous personality, lends my portraits into a striking, almost otherworldly quality that speaks through the frame with its own personal language.
WHAT inspired this work?
This work was inspired by the beauty of the oceans and the seas, I want to create awareness to people about the problem that we have with our polluted waters through art. I don't like to be literal and to tell people what to think, I like to let the work speak by itself and really dig its way into people's heads like a good subliminal message.
WHEN did you start using your photography as a form of activism?
I have been trying to make photos that have a message for a few years. I am teaching myself how to do it, and now as time passes I feel like the messages are becoming more clear. I like to work with a purpose and create art that can help our planet to heal. I was born in a beautiful city called Santander, the water is very clean, the fish is fantastic and the everyday life of people very much relates to our beautiful Atlantic Ocean.
I grew up sailing and make sure to enjoy the beach as much as I can now. I learned to kitesurf and I have a sailboat in City Island, BK. Honestly, It makes me very sad to see how some people leave the beach after a day of fun. I hate seeing balloons, plastic bottles, and stupid things that shouldn't be left on the beach because it ends up in the sea, I see it when I am sailing or kiting. There is a balance that we need to understand, it really upsetting and we need to come together to fix it.
WHERE is the biggest critical threat to the oceans caused by the fashion industry?
Facts: Scientists estimate that over 8 million tons of plastic enter our oceans each year and one big problem is microfiber pollution. When washed, synthetic clothing sheds tiny plastic fragments known as microfibers. Microfibers are the most prevalent type of microplastic (plastic pieces less than 5 mm in diameter) found in the environment. Microfiber cloths are made of plastic fibers derived from crude oil or natural gas. These fragments may be tiny, but they cause harm to our ecosystem, as marine life swallows them, causing injury or death. A good way to help here is to be careful where we buy what we wear, to inform ourselves about where it comes from and how it is made.
WHY do we need to care about the oceans?
The Ocean is the heart of the planet. Water covers more than two-thirds of the Earth's surface. Sea plants, like Posidonia, produce 70% of the oxygen we breathe, and the deep waters are home to wildlife and some of the biggest creatures on earth. It provides us with food, jobs, life, entertainment, sailing, kitesurfing...! All life on Earth comes from the oceans… and they're still looking after us today. The oceans have protected us from the worst impacts of global warming. Our oceans have trapped 90% of the extra heat caused by greenhouse gas emissions over the last sixty years. We need to care about what brings us life. It is very simple.
PHOTOGRAPHER: Rocio Segura / @Rocio_Segura_Photography
MODEL: Lily Chapmann / @lily.chapmann @musemodelsnyc
MUA: Tomoyo Shionome using MAC Cosmetics / @tomoyomakeup / @maccosmetics
HAIR: Yu Nakata / @yunkt / @87artists
NAILS: Beverly Crawford / @bevy_lynn
BTS: Beverly Crawford / @bevy_lynn
The Cannon Media Group / @thecannonmediagroup
Patrick Duffy + GFX / @mrpatrickduffy @globalfashionechange