Not many of us can say their earliest memory of the ocean is being face to face with a shark. But Nico Zimmermann does. He was 10 years old and freediving with his father in Malaysia when a black tip reef shark casually passed by. This encounter changed Zimy's life forever.
Meeting one of the greatest predators out there didn't scare Zimy but rather set him on a path to dedicate his life and career to advocate for sharks and for the ocean.
Zimy (also known as Zimy Da Kid), is a Swiss film director, photographer and conservationist working for big brands in the outdoor industry and manufacturers of film and photo equipment. He is also involved with his own non-profit "Deep Sea Guardians", which is educating people about the importance of sharks for the whole marine ecosystem by leading expeditions and producing documentary films and photos.
Driving positive change
"My deep love for the natural world and the oceans especially had a huge influence on my work as a visual artist over the years. I now spend pretty much all of my time crossing the globe capturing this mysterious and fascinating underwater world in order not only to show the beauty of it but also to raise awareness and teach people about the environmental challenges nature is facing", Zimy says.
He's speaking to us from French Polynesia where he is currently organizing expeditions and workshops to teach people about shark and whale conservation. “Our ultimate goal with these workshops is to create new ocean ambassadors who will help to drive a positive change in our coexistence with the world's ocean.»
"I was born in the mountains and raised by the ocean."
Nico Zimmermann aka Zimy, #tide ambassador
It was this full hearted dedication – and his breathtakingly beautiful photographic work – which made us reach out to Zimy when we were looking to partner with someone to become the first official #tide ambassador. Who could be better suited to become the face of our impact driven business than someone who has literally spent half his life in the ocean? Someone who directs all his actions towards the fight against the abuse and suffering that is brought upon the ocean through our lifestyle, consumerism and ways of doing business?
"When I first heard about #tide, I immediately felt inspired because I'm always looking for other people trying to use their skills and knowledge to make a difference and promote a positive change in our relationship to the ocean", Zimy says about his decision to work with us. "We have to find a solution to get rid of the plastic that is already out there poisoning our oceans." As a passionate diver, he witnesses the devastation first hand every time he puts on his underwater equipment and drops below the surface of the sea.
Zimy is convinced that his art can play a crucial role in activism. "Art and images have this unique power to create emotions within people and once people start loving something, they beginn caring about it and want to protect it."
The power of images is real. In June 2022, Zimy and his fellow shark activists were able to put on so much pressure on the public that a famous shark killing tournament on the East Coast of the USA had to be cancelled.
"I'm always looking for other people to promote a positive change in our relationship to the ocean."
Another part of his work consists of helping scientists with their research for example through photo identification of various species to document and understand shark populations. Important work which allows the survey of growth rates, residency rates, habitat utilization and migration patterns in order to further enhance the protection of shark.
Art is accelerating change
"I think that it is critical for scientists and artists to work hand-in-hand in order to have the greatest impact possible: a scientific article will prove facts, an image will stay in people's mind forever. If we can have both, we'll be able to change things faster because not only sharks but all of the oceans are running out of time", Zimy says.
One such piece of impact art is being worked at right now. Zimy and his team are filming through all of the year 2022 to create a 60-90 min documentary film which should be released in 2023.
So, there's a lot to look forward to. Glad to have you on board Zimy!
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