Northern Sea Nettles

Chrysaora melanaster

The environment of the Arctic Ocean coast and my relationship with it strongly influences my work.  The images that comprise Northern Sea Nettles explores the natural beauty of a seasonal species of jellyfish.  Once considered a more infrequent visitor to Arctic waters, their populations have been booming and migrating increasingly northward, washing up on Arctic shores by the thousands in midsummer.  Studies undertaken in the Bering Sea fishery conservatively estimate that the sea nettles’ numbers increased ten fold over the course of a decade, a cause for increasing concern and study on the health of that fishery.  Further research is requested to fully explore the reasons behind their populations grown, but many scientists believe that warming oceans is one of the culprits, not only for this species but jellyfish species all over the globe.  As they compete for food sources and alter the water chemistry, what does this portend for the health of our marine ecosystems?

As I admire their delicate bodies strewn haphazardly on our beaches each summer, I don’t ponder whether their presence is good or bad. They are simply here… as I am, myself a member of an increasingly present and environment altering species in the Arctic. I choose to focus on their extraordinary beauty and grace through a formal study of design and tonality.  Abstract compositions emphasize their diaphanous quality and intricate texture, highlighting their inner translucence.  I hope to encourage a deeper, more personal reflection on our roles as beings in our own successful species and what connections and responsibilities we have to the creates that share our environment.