Around The World – Azores Islands

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For the next instalment of our Around The World series photography student, Laura Shepherd tells us about her recent trip to The Azores Islands.

By Laura Sheperd – Reporter 


With the challenge to further the education to young children on the insights of whaling, two MA Publishing students, Amy Thompson and Megan Pollard began their project by searching for photographers, writers and illustrators.

These students were to take part in an unmissable opportunity to visit the Azores Islands; San Miguel and Pico. During their time they would conduct field research into whaling and to see the beautiful animals themselves in their natural habitat. The culmination of the trip was to collectively produce material that would be published in a children’s book. This book would then be sold in stores such as Waterstones and Amazon as well as to be homed in primary schools. The book would use a mixture of raw images, illustrations, poems and short articles on the information necessary.

After finalising their decision I was chosen as one of the project’s photographer, along with Riley Arthur. Two writers; Abigail Law and Helen McGlasson and one illustrator; Jade Fricker were also chosen. The journey was set to educate ourselves on the past effects of whaling and looking at how laws have changed.

With began our research with two days of whale watching on the island of San Miguel. Here we were able to speak to old whalers who witnessed every aspect of the job. We were already on our way to producing incredible first hand information for the book. The biggest challenge we were to be face with was the balance between the details of whaling and keeping the book appropriate for primary school aged children.Pluto 2

After taking a short flight to Pico island we then had a further two whaling trips. This was one of the most beautiful experiences there could be. Knowing about whales in captivity it is a real sense of relief to see them the way they should be seen. These whales were not tempted by food or whistles, but where they are supposed to be.

As we continued to gather large amounts of information and finding inspiration for the book the trip came to an end. This has quite possibly been the most amazing experience I have ever been involved with.

The book, Whales Beneath the Waves is aimed to be published in early 2016. The book will personally serve as a memento of a great project I have worked on. I’d like to credit to the commitment and organisation of project leaders Amy and Megan.

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