Jennifer Hayes

HARP SEAL PUP GULF OF ST. LAWRENCE, CANADA A harp seal pup in its white coat phase seeks shelter from the relentless wind beneath a pyramid of ice in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Harp seals are ice obligates — they are adapted for birth on ice. I began telling the story of harp seals in 2011 and return to document this population as temperatures rise and the sea ice either declines or does not form at all. Imagine more than 100,000 pregnant harp seals looking for their ice nursery that no longer exists. This is where we are in 2023. Photo by Jennifer Hayes

Conservation et collaboration avec un appareil photo

LES LECTEURS CONNAÎTRONT LA SIGNATURE “David Doubilet and Jennifer Hayes” from scores of National Geographic des reportages dans les magazines. Travaillant en équipe, ils ont photographié l'océan sauvage, des tropiques aux deux régions polaires, en passant par des domaines aquatiques plutôt inhabituels. Dans les coulisses, Hayes décrit avec humour leur partenariat comme une collaboration très improbable. Acres verts couple.

Doubilet grew up in a home in New York City, and Hayes came from a family of dairy farmers living on 1,500 acres at the edge of Lake Ontario in upstate New York. Her early life related to their Holstein dairy, yet her rural background didn’t prevent her from developing a crush on Marlin Perkins from his Royaume sauvage series. Inspired by his treks through nature, Hayes rode horses to explore local creeks and ponds, in her words “looking and collecting and doing.” 

Meanwhile, her parents were more pragmatic. Their veterinarian bills were enormous, so they thought it would be great if at least one of their five kids became a vet. Hayes seemingly oriented to that idea, choosing to attend junior college during her senior year of high school to get started in science. There she met a biology professor who “kicked down some barriers in my mind,” she said. 

PÈRE ET FILS PÊCHEURS BAIE DE KIMBE, PAPOUASIE NOUVELLE GUINÉE When David Doubilet and I were on assignment for the 125th anniversary issue of National Geographic, we could go anywhere in the world. We chose to return to Kimbe Bay, a deep basin punctuated by seamounts in a remote corner of the Coral Triangle. The story welcomed us with a monsoon and me with malaria, chikungunya, and skin bends. When the water cleared, Max Benjamin’s team guided us to seamounts, explored and unexplored coral shallows where we discovered an islet near the distant Willaumez Peninsula. As we were working on a split image, a father and son fisher paddled silently into the frame, creating a moment that would disappear as quickly as it appeared. © JENNIFER HAYES

Hayes embraced science and went on to receive a bachelor’s degree in biology from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Potsdam. She dutifully rode with a large-animal vet, took the Graduation Record Examination (GRE), and applied to Cornell University. She chose instead to pursue a master’s degree in zoology at the University of Maryland, where she entered as Eugenie Clark’s last graduate student. Her research under Clark focused on shark fisheries in the northwest Atlantic, which kept her at sea off the East Coast documenting shark landings. 

Clark, known as “the shark lady,” was an ichthyologist of great renown, founder of Mote Marine Laboratory (originally known as Cape Haze), and instrumental in conceptualizing scuba diving as a tool for marine research. Diminutive in height, she was a giant of charisma and an influencer before the word was mainstream. She inspired Hayes to weigh practical pathways against the impractical but rewarding paths in the study of primitive fishes. 

Requin pointe noire dans des coraux peu profonds, Passe Sud, Atoll de Fakarava, Polynésie française
REQUIN BLACKTIP FAKARAVA, POLYNÉSIE FRANÇAISE In Fakarava you photograph sharks on their terms. By day, hundreds of gray reef sharks soar in the South Pass current while blacktips patrol the shallows. At night, squadrons of sharks actively hunt the coral slope for sleeping reef fish, providing a rare and honest window into their world. © JENNIFER HAYES

Mme Hayes est entrée dans le monde de l'entreprise à Washington, D.C., en tant que biologiste chargée d'étudier l'impact sur la baie de Chesapeake. Elle a progressé dans son travail, formé une équipe solide, gagné un salaire mirobolant avec de généreuses vacances et a acquis 100 % de ses droits dans son plan 401(k). Cependant, sa proximité avec la baie de Chesapeake lui donnait envie de se retrouver sous l'eau pour étudier le comportement des poissons. 

Après ses heures de travail, elle rédige une proposition de recherche sur les esturgeons et obtient un financement de la part de la New York Power Authority. Elle a démissionné de son poste à Washington et a transféré le financement au SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry pour sa recherche doctorale sur la télémétrie de l'esturgeon jaune et la dynamique de la population sur le fleuve Saint-Laurent. 

To her colleagues’ surprise, Hayes chose an $8,000 per year stipend, a tin jon boat equipped with nets, and a golden retriever over a comfortable salary and never looked back. Clark had been right: Follow your heart, not the 401(k).

ÉLÉPHANT D'AFRIQUE DELTA DE L'OKAVANGO, BOTSWANA One of the best and most challenging assignments was photographing beneath the surface of the Okavango Delta — a hidden Africa. I watched in awe and gratitude as the heaviest land mammal on our planet displayed joy underwater in a deep stream. The elephant polished its tusks in the gleaming sand, blew bubbles back onto itself like a spa, and then extended its trunk above the surface like a snorkel and walked slowly downstream. It seemed like a dream to witness these secret moments with magnificent creatures that are ours to stand up for or lose. © JENNIFER HAYES
Crocodile américain
CROCODILE AMÉRICAIN JARDINS DE LA REINE, CUBA David Doubilet encountered an American crocodile on its nightly patrol deep in the mangroves of Cuba’s Gardens of the Queen. This remote marine park is one of the few places where you can descend into a Caribbean from the past. This coral kingdom surrounded by a complex system of mangroves is prime habitat for these crocodiles, which are familiar with daytime snorkelers. Encountering these creatures at night on their terms is incredibly rare and wonderful, but we know we are guests in their midst and exercise caution — and we work with editors to represent this species in this place as symbols of successful conservation. © JENNIFER HAYES

Je vois que tous les chemins mènent au poisson, qu'il soit d'eau douce ou d'eau de mer, mais comment la photographie est-elle devenue partie intégrante de votre vie ? 

Comme beaucoup d'entre nous ici, la science a conduit à la narration. La recherche a donné lieu à des présentations internationales de données de terrain à des collègues et à des parties prenantes. En tant que biologiste de la pêche, j'ai présenté des graphiques et des statistiques pour décrire le comportement de cet ancien poisson géant. J'ai décrit la magie dont j'ai été témoin sous l'eau, en essayant de peindre une image mentale pour un public engagé qui est une petite tribu très dévouée où nous apprenons les uns des autres. 

Les collègues avaient de nombreuses questions à poser : Une femelle peut-elle frayer à la fois avec plusieurs mâles ? Les mâles restent-ils ? Les poissons mangent-ils leurs propres œufs ? Préfèrent-ils un certain substrat ? Les esturgeons sont timides et rarement accessibles, mais j'avais une fenêtre, ce qui signifiait qu'il fallait sérieusement commencer à les documenter. La photographie sous-marine est rapidement devenue un outil de recherche important. 

Hayes émerge de la banquise

Comment avez-vous appris la photographie sous-marine ? Photographier l'esturgeon dans les eaux troubles du Saint-Laurent semble être une espèce cible difficile, d'un point de vue photographique.

Truthfully, the greatest challenge was the limited time I had with them. There’s a maximum of one week each June when they migrate to the spawning areas where they congregate, are pumped on hormones, and ignore your presence or maybe even try to spawn with you. I splurged on an underwater housing with a wide-angle lens and, rather stupidly, a costly glass dome with strobes and the requisite Nikonos V (with a fisheye lens) draped around my neck for an extra 36 frames. 

J'ai suivi une courbe d'apprentissage abrupte avec des inondations, des dômes outrageusement rayés et des cadres sous-exposés. Les anciens sont apparus et j'ai créé des images d'esturgeons faisant des choses secrètes. Les subventions fédérales, nationales et privées sont arrivées plus rapidement lorsque les bailleurs de fonds ont réalisé qu'ils pouvaient documenter visuellement leur investissement dans la conservation de cette espèce menacée. 

J'ai rapidement appris que les images ont un pouvoir et qu'elles valent bien plus que 1 000 mots ou données. Les photographies ont donné lieu à des articles dans des publications sur la conservation, NPR, le New York Timesdes revues à comité de lecture et des contributions à des ouvrages.

Baiser des phoques de la harpe
MÈRE ET PETIT PHOQUE DU GROENLAND GOLFE DU ST. SAINT-LAURENT, CANADA On the last day of our harp seal assignment I found a mother and pup harp seal interacting at the floe edge. The mother coaxed her pup off the ice and greeted it with an underwater kiss of recognition, using scent to identify each other. We knew this behavior happens on the surface of the ice, but biologists did not know that it also occurs underwater. Each year I return to watch, listen, and document behavior above and below the nursery as this Gulf of St. Lawrence population faces catastrophic loss of stable ice required for pup survival. © JENNIFER HAYES

Vous avez quitté l'eau douce pour la mer, un partenariat, et National Geographic

David et moi nous sommes rencontrés il y a mille ans sous l'eau à Bimini, aux Bahamas, où je travaillais sur les requins citron avec feu Sonny Gruber de l'université de Miami. Pour capturer les femelles gravides, j'ai installé des blocs et des stations d'appât lestées dans les eaux peu profondes, dans le but de repérer les lieux où les requins mettent bas. 

I was underwater assessing a female when someone submerged with a fancy camera and began taking pictures. That somebody was David Doubilet, who was there to document Gruber’s program. We brought the female to the surface, quickly attached her transmitter, and released her. She swam for the shallows and began birthing her pups. David had what he came for: the first birth of a shark. Our team had what we came for: more proof that lemon sharks drop their pups near the protective cover of mangroves.

Par la suite, nous nous sommes croisés dans des laboratoires marins, sur le terrain et dans des centres de recherche. National Geographic over many years as I assisted on various grant projects. A Doubilet–Hayes partnership formed, where I would submit images, and selects got published, but it was rightfully a David Doubilet vision and byline in those days. Eventually, editors suggested a shared byline. 

Aujourd'hui, David ou moi pouvons proposer une mission en fonction de nos intérêts, qui peuvent être très différents. Je suis actuellement en train de documenter deux histoires de longue durée pour le compte de National GeographicLe changement climatique : un regard global sur l'esturgeon et le phoque du Groenland. 

No matter where the inspiration originates, we generally approach these assignments as a team — unless it involves a snowmobile, snowshoes, skis, or a horse, and then it is all mine. 

Fonte des coraux au récif Moore
CORAL SPAWN RÉCIF MOORE, GRANDE BARRIÈRE DE CORAIL, AUSTRALIE This not just any coral spawn. This is Moore Reef, a small patch of reef that survived the sequential mass coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef. This survivor coral was able to spawn after thermal stress during another record-setting heat wave, so it became a coral spawn donor. A team under ecologist Peter Harrison captured and replanted the coral larvae onto degraded reef. © JENNIFER HAYES

Avec deux photographes aussi talentueux sur une même mission, y a-t-il une compétition pour les photos ? Ou bien comptez-vous qui obtient le plus de photos dans l'article final ? 

There is zero competition. The story is far more important than the credit — his, mine, or other contributors. Every single click of the shutter is a team collaboration that includes the people who fill the tank, drive the boat, or guide you to a subject. Land in a different country and see how far you get without priceless support. The best part of any assignment is submitting an assistant’s work along with our own — or better yet, discovering a body of work out there and getting their coverage in front of the right editor. 

National Geographic Partners nous a permis de collaborer à de nombreuses histoires, à des projets de livres, à Lindblad Expeditions et à des tournées de conférences Nat Geo Live. Nous participons également à des projets commerciaux et personnels, les collaborations dans le domaine de la conservation étant prioritaires. 

It has been a privilege to support the Ocean Geographic Elysium Expeditions in Antarctica, the Arctic, the Coral Triangle, and most recently the Antarctic Climate Expedition in February 2023. A team of established and emerging photographers, videographers, scientists, musicians, writers, and artists create a body of work that includes a book, film, and an exhibition that goes on tour where it will have the most impact — not museums or out of the way art galleries, but major shopping malls in places such as Beijing, Shanghai, and Chendou, China, where young people come to buy the next new thing. These projects are well worth the investment. The best part is working with old friends and making new ones. 

rascasse avec poisson-clown
RASCASSE ÎLE DE SUMILON PHILIPPINES As a biologist, I am always looking for behavior. I was getting low on air as I waited and watched this scorpionfish move painfully slow to position itself beneath a clownfish-laden anemone off Sumilon Island, Philippines. This master of disguise disappeared in front of my eyes as its chromatophores displayed as coral while the camouflaged predator waited for its opportunity to ambush an unsuspecting anemonefish. © JENNIFER HAYES
Corail Elkhorn au crépuscule Jardins de la Reine, Cuba
CORAIL ELKHORN AU COUCHER DU SOLEIL JARDINS DE LA REINE, CUBA Working in Cuba’s Gardens of the Queen is like turning back the Caribbean’s clock to a time when sharks patrolled the edge of a fish-cloaked reef. Our guide, Noel Lopez, took us to a large elkhorn coral meadow, where we spent the day carefully photographing schools of snappers that filled the coral branches and spilled across the sand floor. Dusk brought a sunset that accentuated the golden elkhorn that kept us there, each of us working separately and reverently quiet in this oceanic museum. © JENNIFER HAYES 

We’re friends on social media as well as in real life, and I’ve noticed some of your most highly trafficked posts are videos. Do you find yourself moving more in that direction?

Moving or moved? We have a clear mandate now: Don’t come back without the video. Video is probably half of what I do. Not surprisingly, I am the designated videographer among us. I’ll use whatever it takes — GoPro, drone, dedicated iPhone, or digital camera. 

Disney est désormais propriétaire de National Geographic Partners. Pensez à tous les canaux qui s'offrent à vous pour intégrer la vidéo dans vos projets : Programmation spécifique à Disney, TikTok, Instagram, filiales d'ABC, productions YouTube, tournées de conférences et National Geographic Expeditions. La demande s'ajoute à une discipline que nous devons prendre au sérieux. 

L'avantage, c'est que j'aime ça. L'inconvénient, c'est de passer de l'image fixe au numérique. Quel que soit le format dans lequel je tourne, je pense que je devrais être dans l'autre. Je ne peux qu'espérer que si je l'ai en vidéo, David l'a en photo. 

LE CALMAR DE NUIT RAJA AMPAT, INDONÉSIE Blackwater diving has become popular with many shooters around the world. It is hard to sit at the dinner table after a long day when you know the sea is throbbing with creatures of the night. Hoping to meet something new, I convert wide angle to macro on my Seacam housing, add spotting lights, and head out into the sea. This squid and I bonded until it had enough of me, creating an artistic cloud of ink and disappearing into the black. © JENNIFER HAYES
Poisson se cachant à l'intérieur d'un tunicier nageant librement
POISSON EN TUNIQUE ANILAO, PHILIPPINES For our work, blackwater diving adds another dimension to our day, place, or assignment. By day we focus on reefs, pelagics, wrecks, or a specific topic. If time, tide, and weather align, we can drop into the twilight zone to see who lives in the night sea. A good night produces customers such as flying fish, jellies with jacks, and this larval fish hiding inside a salp, trying to survive the night. A great night is an immortal jelly or my still-coveted blanket octopus. I find the night sea a peaceful place — until you encounter an ancient but still fishing ghost net at 90 feet. © JENNIFER HAYES 

Que nous réserve l'avenir ?

We’re directing our efforts on conservation, collaborations, and the next generation of ocean advocates. We are specifically interested in giving voice, space, and place to emerging talent by getting them on our shoulders to reach higher — or deeper in our case. We are stalking scientists and their work toward solutions in the sea and bringing their stories out of peered-reviewed papers and into the public eye. 

Nous étions à Raja Ampat, en Indonésie, en janvier 2023, pour ReShark, une nouvelle solution simple pour la conservation des requins : Remettre les requins dans la mer. Mark Erdmann, de Conservation International, a vu une opportunité lorsqu'il a appris que les aquariums abritant des requins zèbres avaient des excédents d'œufs de requins zèbres. Sachant que les zones marines protégées de Raja Ampat abritaient des populations de requins zèbres, il a eu une idée. Aujourd'hui, ReShark représente plus de 70 parties prenantes qui déplacent les œufs vers des nurseries de requins en Indonésie, où des scientifiques marins locaux les élèvent et les relâchent. 

These stories are valuable because they allow us to share hard truths about loss, provide solutions, and document conservation successes that may inspire others to innovate. You can’t beat up people and send them off with only doom and gloom. 

Our job now is to prioritize projects with impact. David will focus heavily on the Oceans Through the Lens of Time project, and I will head to the Canadian Arctic on snowmobile with scuba tanks. In the meantime we will connect with other storytellers to document the most important story on Earth: Earth Itself. Keep shooting, and come find us underwater. Let’s collaborate! AD

esturgeon jaune
LAC STURGEON ST. LAWRENCE RIVER Thousands of fertilized eggs have been collected from wild St. Lawrence lake sturgeon in June each year since the 1990s. Researchers raise the sturgeon to fingerling size and release them in designated systems in October. These 7,000 sturgeon are released into a future where they will hopefully appear on sturgeon spawning beds in 25 years. © JENNIFER HAYES


En savoir plus sur Jennifer Hayes et voir d'autres de ses travaux dans une galerie bonus et ces vidéos.


© . - Q3 2023