The last few months here in Fiji have been hard. COVID has made its way into the country and communities, after a year of no cases beyond the border quarantine facilities. Life was normal here, work was okayish for me, and I had several projects lined up for 2021. Then a slip-up occurred in April and right now the country seems to be heading towards a disaster.
Although we still have comparatively low numberscases with around 700 active cases, the virus seems to be spreading quickly and the government just announced it shifts its efforts towards a mitigation strategy instead of trying to prevent a further spread. The main hospital in the country is currently closed due to COVID outbreaks and instead, several makeshift hospitals are built up. All in all, not a time to get sick, whether COVID or otherwise.
Like everyone, we try and make the best out of the current situation. Being based on the university campus in Suva, we are lucky to have beautiful green spots around us, where we can walk our dogs and enjoy the fresh air without meeting too many other people. As all the projects that involve actual shooting at the location have been cancelled, I have been confined to desk work.
At the beginning of the current outbreak, I was happy to still have some editing work for the UN Office International Organization for Migration (IOM), which resulted in a short film about Internal Displacement in the Pacific.
More recently, I created the video for the launch of the Pacific Resilience Facility. A self-sustaining fund from and for the Pacific region and announced by the Pacific Island Forum Secretariat. A very exciting project!
The task, I am personally the most invested in and proud of is the probably biggest project in my photographic life thus far: my own photo book. I have been working on this upcoming photo book about the Shark Reef Marine Reserve in Fiji for a long time and made some big progress over teh last few months. I am almost at a point to print a first example, have a thorough look at it and then transition into the crowdfunding phase. I will need all of your help to make this book a reality!
The book will feature quite a bit of information on the establishment of Shark Reef and Beqa Adventure Divers, a few details about sharks, a look at the science behind shark feeding as well as the scientific literature from Shark Reef itself, short interviews with some leading shark researchers, and, of course, the photos that I have taken there over the last five years.
This book has been a dream of mine for many years and I have put an incredible amount of work into it. I started working on this in 2018, and now three years later, I feel that it is really coming together. Although Fiji’s shark diving is well-known around the world, there are no high quality photo books available, so I hope my book will fill the void and bring the topic into living rooms all across the world.
Despite all the bad COVID news, I also received some great news:
Stay safe everyone!
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Tom Vierus is an award-winning photographer, filmmaker, and marine biologist based in Suva, Fiji Islands. This blog is dedicated to his assignments and to sharing some behind-the-scenes footage.