Centennial Center Gallery Archive
From Antarctica to the Amazon:
Blue Earth Photographers Document Global Climate Change
Reception: Thursday, November 13, 5:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Hosted by the Blue Earth Board of Directors and the Kent Arts Commission
Exhibit Dates: November 6, 2008 - January 2, 2009
Regular gallery hours: Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m - 5:00 p.m, closed holidays.
Location: Centennial Center Gallery, Kent City Campus, 400 West Gowe Street, Kent, Washington 98032 map
Daniel Beltrá photographs the Amazon rainforest to witness the worst drought in living memory and the burning of thousands of untouched acres. Gary Braasch illustrates how "the earth is becoming a different planet as the ice withdraws” with images from his recent book, Earth Under Fire: How Global Warming is Changing the World. Benjamin Drummond and Sara Joy Steele profile Sámi reindeer herdsmen from Norway, volunteer glacier monitors from Iceland and fishermen of the North Atlantic as their communities confront and adapt to environmental changes. And Camille Seaman chronicles a handful of the many thousands of disappearing Polar icebergs.
These artists are sponsored project photographers of Blue Earth, a Seattle-based nonprofit that raises awareness about endangered cultures, threatened environments and social concerns around the world through photography.
Facing Climate Change: The Nordic Collection
Benjamin Drummond and Sara Joy Steele
Climate change is our generation’s defining challenge. We are raising the temperature of our entire planet. The early signs we witness today result from 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit of warming during the past century. Scientists estimate that temperatures could rise up to 7 degrees over the next hundred years. The emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases forces fundamental questions of social justice, economic opportunity and environmental degradation, and presents an unprecedented threat to life as we know it. The struggle to engage and mobilize our culture is our generation’s defining challenge.
Facing Climate Change illustrates global change through local people. From semi-nomadic reindeer herders in Norway to wildland firefighters of the American West, we document the lives of people around the world as they confront and adapt to the complex issues surrounding global warming. In the summer and fall of 2006, we collected these profiles of Sámi reindeer herdsmen in Norway, volunteer glacier monitors from Iceland, and fishermen of the North Atlantic. We are currently seeking support to complete a series of profiles from the American West.
For more information about our print and Web media, presentations and exhibitions, please visit www.facingclimatechange.org.
Recipients of a 2008 Kent Arts Commission Exhibition award, Sara and Benj invited Daniel Beltrá, Gary Braasch and Camille Seaman to exhibit with them. The artists would like to thank to Martha Kongsgaard for her help with this exhibit.
Amazon: Forest At Risk
The Amazon Rainforest represents over half the world’s remaining tropical forests. This primeval wilderness harbors the greatest concentration of biodiversity on earth, with untold numbers of plant and animal species yet to be discovered. At the peak of the wet season one fifth of all the planet's river water swells the Amazon and its tributaries. A finely calibrated balance of rainfall, transpiration and evaporation perpetuates the surrounding weather systems in ways that scientists are only beginning to unravel.
More than 17% of the Amazon has already been cleared by loggers, ranchers and soy farmers, much of it illegally. Fire is primary tool by which they clear the rainforest and the flames continue to burn, releasing enormous levels of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Brazil is the fourth largest producer of greenhouse gases on the planet, 75% of those result from burning the forest. These gases contribute to global warming.
Thousands of miles away lies the Antarctic continent, one of the world’s most pristine environments. Not only does the fate of this remote wilderness hinge on the smallest upward change in global temperature, but the melting of the polar ice cap there will have a drastic effect on the lives of hundreds of millions of coastal residents around the world.
By documenting these changes, I want to shine a light on this most critical issue of global warming. I hope that my photographs inspire a more detailed appreciation of the Amazon rainforest, the incredible human stress that it is under, and the global implications of it's survival and prosperity.
World View of Global Warming: A Photographic Documentation of Climate Change
The goal of World View of Global Warming is to illustrate and report on the physical changes and science of climate change. In 1999 I began working in the polar regions, where temperature changes are greatest. By 2006 I had photographed on seven continents, in 22 nations, and in ecosystems from coral reefs to alpine summits. This work benefits from a dialogue with scientists and observers around the world. I also document solutions to global warming and energy issues.
You can find more images from this project in my book, Earth Under Fire: How Global Warming is Changing the World, published in 2007 by University of California Press. Now in a second printing, and scheduled for an updated paperback edition in March 2009, this book has been lauded by IPCC scientists and called one of the “50 best environmental books and films” by Vanity Fair. In 2008 the project also became the basis of a kids book written with Lynne Cherry, How We Know What We Know About Our Changing Climate: Scientists and Kids Explore Global Warming.
The Last Iceberg
The Last Iceberg is one piece of a larger project entitled Melting Away which documents the polar regions of our planet, their environments, life forms, history of human exploration and the communities that work and live there.
Nick Cave once sang, "All things move toward their end." Icebergs give the impression of doing just that, in their individual way much as humans do; they have been created of unique conditions and shaped by their environments to live a brief life in a manner solely their own. Some go the distance traveling for many years slowly being eroded by time and the elements; others get snagged on the rocks and are whittled away by persistent currents. Still others dramatically collapse in fits of passion and fury.
The Last Iceberg chronicles just a handful of the many thousands of icebergs that are currently headed to their end. I approach the images of icebergs as portraits of individuals, much like family photos of my ancestors. I seek a moment in their life in which they convey their unique personality, some connection to our own experience and a glimpse of their soul, which endures.
These images were made in both the Arctic regions of Svalbard, Greenland, and Antarctica.
1, 2. Facing Climate Change — Sámi Reindeer Herdsmen. Archival inkjet print. Copyright Benjamin Drummond, 2006.
3. Rainforest Island. Digital Print. Copyright Daniel Beltrá, 2007.
4. Ice Cavern in Receding Glacier, Antarctica. Color transparency film printed on color paper. Copyright Gary Braasch, 2000.
5. Giant Non-Tabular Iceberg (Wedge), Weddell Sea, Antarctica. Archival inkjet print. Copyright Camille Seaman, 2005.