American Way: Is there any one issue that in your mind is paramount?
Wu: Overpopulation is the biggest problem on earth. Everything else comes from that.
American Way: You've endured long, cold hours, seasickness, and travel to the farthest reaches of the globe to document marine conservation issues. Why?
Wu: People protect what they know and love. Unfortunately, the world's oceans and their problems are not familiar to most people, and so they're ignored. I'm hoping I can help bridge this lack of awareness and help people understand the beauty, importance, and fragility of our oceans. Photographs can be powerful tools.
American Way: You work with still photography and, more recently, high-definition television. Why have you made your life in the visual world?
Wu: Well, I'm a terrible musician. It would be a truly awful thing to hear me sing. And I can't hear well either. And I hate writing. So it's visual stuff or nothing.
American Way: You've photographed some haunting images - turtles caught on long lines, finned sharks, sea lions choked by gill nets. How does that affect you?
Wu: I hate to say it, but at some point, when you are pursuing a subject, you are glad to get it. It's like trophy hunting. Still it is difficult, perhaps the most difficult thing that I've had to deal with during the three years of this Pew project. Basically I'm going places hoping to photograph bad things happening. That's not always fulfilling.
American Way: Many people think, Oh, the ocean has no direct effect on my life. What would you say to them?