February 9, 2018

MIT Sea Grant Visiting Artist Keith Ellenbogen wins Hollings Ocean Awareness Award

Keith Ellenbogen, a visiting artist at MIT Sea Grant was recently awarded an Ernest F. Hollings Ocean Awareness Award from the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation for his artistic and innovative project entitled: Space to Sea — A Photographic Journey into Stellwagen Bank Sanctuary. Keith, an assistant professor of photography at SUNY Fashion Institute of Technology, will work closely with Alison Nolan, Principal, Boston Harbor Cruises, to showcase the never before photographed dynamic underwater world of Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary to spark environmental awareness.

Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary is located in our backyard, just 25 nautical miles off the coast of Boston, between Cape Ann and Cape Cod. Similar to our National Parks, marine sanctuaries are federally designated areas that protect important natural marine environments and historic resources while hosting extraordinary recreational actives such as whale watching, fishing, bird watching and shipwreck diving.

Ellenbogen’s innovative project will reveal the sanctuary’s diverse and vibrant marine ecosystem, from its largest creatures such as the iconic humpback whale and basking shark to its smallest microscopic plankton. Ellenbogen will use satellite imagery from space to visualize vast signatures left by plankton too small to be seen by the naked eye. Combining underwater photography techniques, with 360° virtual reality, microscopy, and satellite imagery, Keith and colleagues will provide a new window into the sanctuary. Images from this project will increase awareness of Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary and inspire people to take action to protect its important resources. Over the next few years Keith will be diving extensively exploring the cold waters of Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. We look forward to sharing his images and discoveries along the way.

Project Home Page: Space to Sea — A Photographic Journey into Stellwagen Bank Sanctuary

About Keith - Keith is a celebrated underwater conservation photographer who is working with MIT Sea Grant as a Visiting Artist at the intersection of art, science and technology to spark marine conservation and ocean awareness. He is a Senior Fellow with the International League of Conservation Photographers; Fellow with The Explorers Club; and an Affiliate Partner with Mission Blue — A Sylvia Earle Alliance. He was a 2015 CAST Visiting Artist at MIT and 2006-7 U.S. Fulbright Fellow. He holds an MFA from Parsons School for Design. Keith is an Assistant Professor of Photography at SUNY/Fashion Institute of Technology. Keith’s photography is currently on exhibit within the Katádysi Art Gallery at MIT Sea Grant.

About the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation - The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation is the chief non-profit partner for our National Marine Sanctuary System. The Foundation focuses on conserving areas of national significance in America’s ocean and Great Lakes by engaging citizens and communities in education, research, and on-the-ground conservation work. Learn at marinesanctuary.org.

About Ernest F. Hollings Ocean Awareness Award - The Ernest F. Hollings Ocean Awareness Award aims to increase stewardship of natural and cultural resources in America’s ocean and Great Lakes. Established in 2005, the awards reflect the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation’s commitment to the legacy of U.S. Senator Ernest F. Hollings who authored an extraordinary range of laws to safeguard America’s ocean and coasts. To date, the Foundation has awarded nearly $2 million to more than 60 groups for research, conservation, education and outreach projects supporting the National Marine Sanctuary System and a healthy ocean.

More info about the project


A humpback whale breaches. Photo by Keith Ellenbogen