The Simple Life: it’s something that we should all aspire to. Because taking the simple life isn’t an indication of taking a step backwards. It is, in fact, a sign of moving forwards to a place where we can live in harmony with the planet once again.
The ocean covers more than 70% of our planet. The stories of the six characters in Fishpeople, Keith Malloy’s latest documentary presented by Patagonia, depict not only how the ocean can have a profound and transformative effect on people’s lives, but how swapping our fast-paced, hyper-connected lifestyles for a more elemental way of life is better for our own well-being and that of the environment.
Along with emotive, eye-popping oceanic imagery, Fishpeople brings us face to face with a cast who have dedicated their lives to the saltwater wilderness and found a deeper meaning beyond our shores. Kimi Werner is a Hawaiian freediver and spearfisher who has created such an intimate connection with the underwater world that she has been filmed swimming with a mighty Great White shark. Using sustainable hunting as a means to feed herself, and sharing her catch with her friends, her way of life proves there is no need to take more from the planet than we need.
Open water swimmer Lynne Cox swam from the USA to Russia, using the simple and ancient art of swimming to bridge the distance between two opposing nations. On even the smallest scale, this connection between communities can help to rebuild our relationship with the natural world and alter our perceptions about what is important in life. Matahi Drollet’s story echoed this sentiment from a tight-knit community in Tahiti, where traditions that have handed down through centuries set an example of a simpler life in partnership with the sea. A talented waterman and fisherman, at just 19 years-old Matahi is charging some of biggest, most dangerous waves in the world, whilst his entire lifestyle – including his work, leisure and emotional well-being – is dictated by the ocean.
Aussie photographer Ray Collins spent much of his childhood in the waves before the necessity to make a living took him to the stark contrast of the coal mines near Wollongong. When injury forced him take time out from work, he turned to sea swimming and photography during his rehabilitation, starting a journey that has led him to the top of his game in ocean photography, capturing arresting seascapes and taking the plunge in some of the most challenging ocean conditions.
While Dave Rastovich dibbed out of competitive surfing to enjoy the freedom of the ocean and prove that his world-class wave riding is about having fun and not scoring points, Eddie Donnellon has dedicated his surfing life to introducing deprived kids in San Francisco to the joy of the ocean and the healing power of the waves. By offering these children the chance to break down barriers and escape to the beach, his work demonstrates that the ocean is a place of life-changing empowerment and growth.
Thought provoking and utterly inspiring, Fishpeople opens our eyes to alternative lifestyles driven by, and in partnership with the ocean. While most of us can’t match up to the remarkable characters in the film, we can all make a difference and live more harmoniously with the planet by making better choices and seeking a more elemental existence that brings us closer to nature and our local communities.
Which is why as a spin-off to the documentary Patagonia is promoting its fair trade clothing line – a world first for the magnate of the surf industry. So if buying fair trade boardies and bikinis and heading to the beach is the only step you take to a better world, at least it’s a step in the right direction. Personally I’m off to catch my own dinner and I’ll be saving up for one of Patagonia’s neoprene wetsuits before my freediving course.
For more information on Fishpeople and Patagonia’s fair trade clothing checkout: www.patagonia.com/fishpeople.html