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The Lone Sockeye

Photographing a strong run of pink salmon, I wasn’t expecting to look over my shoulder and find myself face-to-face and fin-to-fin with a brilliant red sockeye salmon.

By April BenczePublished 3 years ago 2 min read

Supported ByUntamed Photographer

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Story Behind the Photograph: The Lone Sockeye

“Salmon shield us from fear of death by showing us how to give of ourselves for things greater than ourselves.” - David James Duncan, My Story As Told By Water

Salmon remind me that we are the ancestors of tomorrow. Witnessing these fish give their bodies to fuel the future, I am given perspective. What I do or do not do today does matter. Every decision, a thread in the tapestry of tomorrow. The future created by those who live today, soon becomes a gift to our children -; their present. I hope they will know the gifts given by salmon, too.

You never know what lessons the river will teach you. Photographing a strong run of pink salmon, I wasn’t expecting to look over my shoulder and find myself face-to-face and fin-to-fin with a brilliant red sockeye salmon.

But there he was, a lone red amongst thousands of pink.

He weaved aimlessly through the bustling school, standing out quite remarkably. A while after, I witnessed the lone sockeye grow weak and drift like a fallen leaf to the river bottom. The algae-coated rocks became his final resting place as his body slowly began to lose its brilliant red, his emerald head faded to grey, and his golden eyes grew vacant of life.

Almost immediately, crayfish crawled from the dark spaces between the rocks to tug on the salmon’s lifeless fins. His body would not be wasted. Each day I returned to the river to witness his body become a part of multiple other creatures, and eventually, a part of the river itself.

About Untamed Photographer

Untamed Photographer is an online art gallery that brings together wildlife photography and stories from a range of international environmental artists, both emerging and established.

Structured as an online marketplace, Untamed Photographer offers a selection of handpicked, limited-edition works of art, alongside the photographers’ compelling stories of what occurred in the wild to get the shot. The exclusive limited-edition pieces are printed in Miami and come with an artist-signed certificate of authenticity from their respective worldwide locations.

The Nature Trust of the Americas (NTOTA) was founded with the mission to give back. While building awareness for NTOTA’s causes, the founders met talented nature photographers who are passionate not only about photography, but also about saving the planet. Their life’s work and stories are inspiring, and their art, passion and stories deserve to be shared on a platform that benefits the environmental causes they are dedicated to.

Just as the photographers preserve the beauty of the planet in their art, Untamed Photographer is dedicated to preserving the planet for the future. All profits from photographs go to Untamed Photographer's two pillars: the artists and causes that protect the environment, ecosystems, and wildlife.

About the Photographer: April Bencze

April Bencze engages in wildlife conservation work through visual storytelling, writing, and collaborative projects that center the dynamic relationships between people, wildlife, and place.

She is dedicated to the coastal ecosystems and communities that she lives within and is supported by; April was raised in Wei Wai Kum First Nation territory (Campbell River) and now lives in Ḵwiḵwa̱sut'inux̱w Ha̱xwa'mis First Nation territory (Gilford Island).

April works as a creekwalker, monitoring salmon populations and habitat with a local non-profit. As a result, salmon are a focus of April's work and life.

April is a lover of plants, the interconnectedness of all things, and the woods.


About the Creator

April Bencze

Ḵwiḵwa̱sut'inux̱w Ha̱xwa'mis First Nation territory (Gilford Island, BC, Canada). Creekwalker. Writer. A lover of plants, rivers, the interconnectedness of all things, and the woods.


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    April BenczeWritten by April Bencze

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