40 LOVE

SERVING UP CONVERSATIONS WITH THE LACOSTE FAMILY

Mac Stone

Mac Stone is a conservation photographer and National Geographic Explorer specializing in imagery from the Everglades.


What started your interest in making the Everglades the subject matter of your photography?


I was always intrigued by the Everglades because it seemed incredibly wild—like the US version of the Amazon. In high school, just when I was really getting into photography, my dad took me on a camping and paddling trip in the Ten Thousand Islands within Everglades National Park. We had islands to ourselves and saw crocodiles, dolphins, alligators, eagles, stingrays and giant schools of fish. That week on the water made me realize how special subtropical wilderness is and honestly, I just wanted to explore as much of it as I could.


We know you do all you can to “get the shot” – do you have an interesting back story on an image to share?


During the winter, water levels drop throughout the Everglades and some years, the dry season lasts longer than usual. One particularly dry winter, I knew there was an area where dozens—if not hundreds—of alligators would be concentrated, trying to stay wet in an increasingly dry landscape. After hiking several miles, the last 50 feet were the worst. I needed to be close (very close) to make the image I had in mind, so with an accomplice, I slogged into a muddy pit with over 60 alligators (that I could count). Up to my thighs in a mix of decaying fish and putrid mud, I could feel gators wriggling under my feet as I reached the middle of the pile. The photograph came out as planned, but once I stood from my crouched position the gators stampeded. My heart nearly exploded. I don’t think I would do that again, but the image helps underscore the need for sending more freshwater south through the Everglades.

MacStone


Why is the conservation of the Everglades so important?


We have some really wild places right at the edge of large and vibrant cities. That healthy balance is what makes this region so unique and culturally, it’s a duality that many of us have come to embrace. Restoring the Everglades and sending clean water back to Florida Bay means better fishing, healthy reefs, abundant birdlife and clean water when you turn on the tap. It means the dozens of threatened and endangered species will have a better chance at survival. Who doesn’t want those things, especially when the alternative of closed beaches and toxic algae is so stark? What’s perhaps even more important is that governments and organizations all over the world are watching what happens in the Everglades. Healing this watershed will create the blueprint for wetland restoration projects all over the world.


What do you love about Lacoste?


My hometown college’s mascot is a grinning green alligator named Albert, so of course Lacoste was ubiquitous. It was the only brand that I could wear to church that simultaneously celebrated the Florida Gators and my unhealthy love for giant reptiles. Although Lacoste’s logo is a crocodile and not an alligator, the Everglades is the only place in the world where crocodiles and alligators cohabitate, which only endears the brand to me even more. Beyond the childhood imprinting, Lacoste has stepped up as a true leader by supporting the Everglades Foundation in their mission to restore this watershed for the birds, the water, the 9 million residents of South Florida and of course, the crocodiles.