By Diane Ako
A Hawaii water cinematographer is the subject of a new special web video series, photo gallery and community web site on explore.org, the philanthropic media organization and multi-media arm of the Annenberg Foundation. The stories chronicle the extraordinary life, work, and current struggle with paraplegia of world renowned ocean cinematographer Mike Prickett.
On March 14, 2012, while filming underwater on location off the coast of an atoll in French Polynesia, Prickett saw a diver below him in distress. Acting instinctively, Prickett helped the diver make an emergency ascent but in the process was partially paralyzed from a severe case of the bends. While the man he saved was ultimately able to walk away from the incident, Prickett was told he may never walk again. His doctors say it will take six months to find out how well he will recover.
Struck by his incredible work and inspired by his resilient, can-do attitude, explore.org founder, philanthropist, and friend of Prickett, Charlie Annenberg Weingarten challenged the cinematographer to turn his journey of recovery into a source of inspiration and education. The result is a new web video series that will chronicle Prickett's journey as he attempts to walk again. explore.org is also teaming up with Prickett for an ongoing blog to showcase his amazing body of work-and the work of his colleagues who have collectively revolutionized video standards in the underwater and surf industries.
The new web video series premiered in May. New webisodes will be released every Wednesday throughout the summer. Go to http://prickett.explore.org/
"Aside from the fact that Mike is considered one of the best underwater cinematographers in the world, he is surely an incredible human being who, even through this tragically challenging time, is showing immense selflessness," said Charlie Annenberg. "Courage has always been in his DNA and we are all inspired by his willingness to share this experience with people everywhere."
I found the videos touching - beautifully shot, of course - and beautifully edited. It reinforces my respect for the ocean, and for this man. All the best to Mike Prickett in his recovery.