“I am amazed at this entire exhibit because of how intimate the photos are in telling the story of each animal and their interaction with other animals under the sea…. Prince Hussain captures moments with these animals that show that they have this almost human characteristic – this love, this energy that really helps people relate to them and really feel for them” — visitors to The Living Sea, May 11, 2023, opening day, speaking to Simerg
For several days, I have been excitedly looking forward to the Canadian debut in Calgary of Prince Hussain Aga Khan’s photographic exhibition entitled The Living Sea: Fragile Beauty. I wanted to capture the moment at 11 AM on Thursday May 11, when the first batch of visitors entered the exhibition hall at The Glenbow at Edison located in the heart of Calgary’s downtown. Alas, some important maintenance work was underway in my apartment that delayed my arrival until almost 1 PM. All visitors were warmly greeted by volunteers as they walked through the front doors and reached the 2nd floor of the Edison. The staff manning the registration desk were courteous and processed the visitors speedily. Prince Hussain’s latest book of sea animal pictures “The Living Sea,” was also available for purchase at the desk and I eagerly acquired my personal copy before they sell out. The price is CDN $80.00 + 5% GST. I was informed that, as of the opening time, almost 7,000 visitors had registered to attend the exhibition, which runs until May 21. With permission to conduct small interviews, I began my tour of the beautiful exhibition hall by first studying an informative timeline as well as profile of Prince Hussain.
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Then, in front of my eyes, along the entire length of the hall, was a collection of amazing and beautiful photographs of sea animals that Prince Hussain has captured over the last several years starting from his youthful days. Visitors viewed and admired photographs from different angles with fascination and interest, noting some fine details of the photographs. Many felt they were deep in the ocean with the sea creatures they were seeing in front of them. Children showed a great deal of interest and asked their parents insightful questions about the sea creatures. They had come to see the photographs as well as to learn.
I wasted no time in approaching a few visitors for their overall feedback about the exhibition and the photographs that they liked the most. Everyone I approached happily gave me a few moments of their time. My interviews were short and precise and I am pleased to include a couple of audio recordings as well as transcripts from all recordings that I carried out (the transcripts are edited for clarity).
The exhibition is free to attend and you can register for tickets by clicking on The Living Sea: Glenbow at the Edison. Public parking is available at parking areas located about 5-10 minutes from the Edison building. I would urge you to reserve your free tickets without delay — and take your children and grandparents with you. They will thank you for showing them the wonders of the ocean.
Visitors share their favourite photographs with Simerg
Exhibition volunteer: I have two favourite photos: One is the side-profile of the Hammerhead’s face. Classically, when certain animals are photographed, you only see them in a certain way but he [Prince Hussain] has captured this animal from a totally different angle that I have never seen before. It just brings to light different features and just makes you appreciate this amazing creature in a different way; and I just think that’s consistent across his photos in terms of how he captures them in a very unique way.
The second favourite I have is Mum’s Hug which is a sea lion with its baby and they are swimming together and Prince Hussain captures moments with these animals that shows that they have this almost human characteristic –- this love, this energy that really helps people relate to them and really feel for them and understand why the Prince does what he does, and why he cares the way he does. He almost photographs them as if they are members of his own family…. It’s really a neat feeling that you have when you look at these, and I think of my own children and I think of these animals with their own calves, and its just unbelievable.
Mamnuna (last name inaudible): I am here at the exhibition The Living Sea by Prince Hussain Aga Khan. As soon as I entered the exhibition, I could feel the energy in the atmosphere. There is so much photography that you are oozing yourself in, and that’s an amazing feeling. I recommend that everyone comes to the exhibition and experiences this amazing feeling that I got today. My favourite photograph was the Clownfish. I just love how Prince Hussain captured it. His emphasis is on the fish and the photograph is very clear. By looking at the fish, you feel the fish is looking at you. It is amazing!
David Silverberg (audio)
David Silverberg (transcript, edited): I am amazed at this entire exhibit because of how intimate the photos are in telling the story of each animal and their interaction with other animals under the sea. I am especially fond of the Hammerhead Shark that you first see when you first walk into the exhibit, because I have never seen such a close-up photo of this very unique shark that isn’t really in movies and in pop-culture as much as the Great White Shark and other kind of sharks. Its detail of the open mouth and the eyes that look very creepy and predatory is something I won’t soon forget.
Donna and Michelle (audio)
Donna (transcript, edited, last name inaudible): I came to see this [exhibition] and I did not know what I was coming to see but I am so glad that I did. I did not know we have such beautiful creatures living in the ocean. And I would never be able to see them if somebody had not taken the time to do this. These pictures are absolutely incredible and some of them are funny and this man has a sense of humour, and its just too bad he isn’t here to give us a speech because I would love to be able to tell him, “Thank you very much for giving me such a pleasant day.”
Michelle Burns (accompanying Donna, transcript, edited): I think this thing is absolutely amazing! He has got details on every single picture. I think my favourite is of the big huge one of the sea lion, and I am also going to say this turtle — the big turtle. I like some things he has got on there, the things that are happening — such as the percentages of animals that are left of some species compared to what the situation was 20 years ago. As she (Donna) said, the sense of humour that the Prince has is just amazing. It’s the best thing I have ever seen in a long time. I loved it!
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Casey Anwar: We came to the exhibition because I like sea creatures and I saw a portfolio on the website. My favourite picture is probably the pregnant Tiger Shark because I have never ever seen a pregnant Tiger Shark swim around and I love sharks.
Name inaudible (accompanying Casey): I came for the same reasons. The exhibition is very serene and majestic. And my favourite image is definitely the two Humpback Whales, child and mother, ascending from the deep with the rays of sunshine coming up.
Date posted: May 12, 2023.
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Malik! you are doing an amazing job.
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