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6 Year Photographic Nature Study Released: Sentient Dolphins and Interspecies Communications are a Focus of “The Leaf Game”

Photographer and Freediver, Ted Roe, has launched a Kickstarter campaign to gain the funds needed to self-publish a photography book with stories and exhibit his work. The last day to participate as a Backer to fund the all-or-nothing campaign is January 19, 2014.

Imagine swimming in the warm waters of Hawaii.  You take a deep inhale and dive down.  You swim down like a dolphin.  You pass 30 feet, then 60 feet, then 90 feet and then slowly flatten out like a skydiver as you approach the bottom of the ocean.  You gently turn and stand up on the bottom of the sea, at 120ft.  You look up and see the sun as a tiny bright dot against the surface of the ocean.  Looking at your dive watch, you know this breath will give you another 2 minutes before you must return to the surface because you have a 6 minute static breath-hold.  You are holding your breath, one breath.  You lift your camera…

The Leaf Game, Dolphins Offer Photographer, Ted Roe a Leaf to Play in Pod Games. (PRNewsFoto/Ted Roe)

The Leaf Game, Dolphins Offer Photographer, Ted Roe a Leaf to Play in Pod Games. (NewsFoto/Ted Roe)

For six years freediving teacher Ted Roe has been conducting a photographic study documenting nature and the underwater world on the Big Island, Hawaii.  He is one of a few people able to swim freely with wild dolphin pods at 60 feet without SCUBA tanks.  Roe has documented images of their resting behaviors, hunting behaviors, play behaviors and many engaging interspecies communications.  The striking images in Roe’s portfolio go further to document eye-to-eye contact, invitations and other interactions with wild dolphins.

Roe decided to self-publish a book including stories of these encounters to accompany these breathtaking photographs.  He chose Kickstarter.com to host his crowdfunding campaign, The Leaf Game.  Pledging begins at $1.  Rewards begin at $5.  For more information go to the project here: http://kck.st/1fvDO84

Roe’s collection also includes beautiful photographs of turtles, fish, geckos, other wildlife, landscapes, flowers, sunsets, and some images of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.


Complex Photography

Freediving photography is complex. The ocean is constantly moving and changing. There is no way to plan or stage images that involve wild, fast-moving creatures. Roe consciously monitors remaining breath, dive duration, pressure equalization, the camera, sea conditions, all aspects of personal safety, and the shot itselfThese photographs are the result of six years of diving quietly and deeply, every day, swimming naturally and unobtrusively for hours alone in the sea.

A Reverent Approach

Roe works with wildlife in a unique and respectful way.  He uses almost no equipment; a small Canon G10 camera with an underwater housing and natural light.  All underwater images are taken freediving with one breath. He does not pursue, disturb, confuse or upset wildlife.  He does not use large cameras, flash, or underwater strobe lights.  He does not use SCUBA equipment.

Roe teaches freediving as a form of yoga that enhances awareness and allows a swimmer to integrate fully with the environment.  Roe uses body language he has learned from his wild subjects to encourage communication and dynamic interactions.  This approach is reflected in his pictures showing a connection between photographer, subject and the surrounding environment.

“We are trained from birth to think that we know what reality is because we know the names of the things we see. But that isn’t really knowledge. If you really want to know how things are connected and where you fit in you have to learn to see through appearances, concepts and words. Connect with reality directly.  Spend hours in contemplation, alone, in wild places.”  Ted Roe

As the controversy mounts over corporations profiting from captive dolphins and whales as exposed by movies like “The Cove” (Taiji, Japan) and “Blackfish” (SeaWorld); Roe’s images show us that dolphins in the wild are the only show to see.  He reminds us that dolphins are real beings that are open, welcoming, and sentient yet they are living challenging and difficult lives.  He gives us a window into who they really are; their community, their true natures, their scars, and their natural beauty.

The Kickstarter Project: A Photographic Book and Exhibit

The title of Roe’s Kickstarter project, his book and the signature photograph; “The Leaf Game”, is a reference to a game that dolphins play.  It’s a combination of soccer and tag, whereby they pass a leaf between them.  Roe has captured images of them offering a leaf to him; a photograph that is an icon of the project.

“The idea that any free, wild, non-human being would invite a human being to play with them is a revealing comment about the concept of sentience and the true nature of our fellow beings.  The truth is that we are all more alike than we are different.  It’s been a humbling and gratifying experience and I want to share it with you.”  Ted Roe

Funding Deadline is January 19, 2014

The Leaf Game is an all-or-nothing Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign for Roe to self-publish his photography book and exhibit his work.  The funding deadline to participate as a “Backer” and pledge for a chosen “Reward” is January 19, 2014.  The funding goal to achieve the book publication and the print exhibit is $30,000.00.  Pledging is no-risk; Amazon Payments manages pledges and a Backer is not charged if the project does not meet the funding goal.

Rewards for Pledging

Roe is offering exclusive rewards for pledging that include photographs, a first edition hardback book, an e-book, a collector’s book, fine art pigment prints (numbered, signed, limited edition), framed fine art prints, and a few one-of-a-kind artist’s proofs are available.  There is also a reward of freediving lessons with Roe.

Roe asks you to consider a pledge of a 10 license e-book copy as your gift to a school, library or children’s hospital.

Roe will ship any reward you purchase as a gift in your name and provide you with delivery confirmation.

Contribute, see the photographs, and learn more about The Leaf Game project HERE:


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