The news of artist, environmental activist, documentary film producer and philanthropist Susan Swartz.

Forward to Susan Swartz Belgravia Catalogue by Oceanic Preservation Society's Louie Psihoyos

Louie Psihoyos

Louie Psihoyos

If the history of the Earth were laid out on a clock, we humans would not appear until a minute before midnight as the writer Carl Sagan so aptly analogized in Cosmos. Despite our brevity on this planet, the impact of humankind has been disproportionately profound.

As we advance through time, we leave behind palpable traces of ourselves and our presence here. Long after we are gone, we will remain — for better or worse — in our forests, in our skies, in our oceans. A record of humanity’s brief but impactful history is evident in our art; the most enduring works offering meaningful connection even centuries after their creation.

Before I was a filmmaker, I was a photographer and an avid diver. I am still both of these things, but it is in my role as a filmmaker that I see the most potential to share my concerns for our planet, especially that of our oceans. Susan Swartz approaches her canvases with the same compulsion. I wield a camera and a microphone, while she brandishes a brush and a palette knife.

As an artist, Susan spent years painting the grandeur and serenity of the natural world. When she became desperately ill with environmentally-bred diseases, Susan saw the fragility of nature. So too for me. As a photographer for National Geographic I was able to catalogue the beauty of our planet for two decades. As a diver for that same period of time, I was able to bear witness to its degradation.

It is from this perspective that I, along with a close group of like-minded activists, formed the Oceanic Preservation Society (OPS). Nobody could have predicted the success of our first endeavor, the Academy Awardâ winning film The Cove, but there was never any question of its importance. Susan saw the truth in our story right away, and became a champion of OPS and a supporter of our films.

Our next project is exponentially more ambitious. Since the dawn of the industrial age, the natural world has slowly degraded at our hands. This tragedy, while seemingly inconceivable in scale, is not inexplicable. We are in the midst of a desperately real mass species extinction being driven by humankind.  We are losing species of plants and animals faster than we are able to catalogue their existence, and nowhere is this disaster more evident than in our oceans.

Our job is two-fold. Just like Susan, we believe it is essential that we educate the world’s communities about the dire state of not just our oceans, but of our entire planet. And, we believe it is imperative that we inspire them to do something about it, in a big way.

For me as with Susan, the line between environmentalist and artist is blurred. We at OPS are dedicated storytellers, but we will never lose sight of the paramount importance of the story we are telling. We are lovers of our planet and experts of our craft. We hope you will join us in revering and respecting the complex, colorful, unpredictable natural world that Susan brings to life in her paintings

Louie Psihoyos
Director, The Cove
Executive Director, Oceanic Preservation Society