By Sarah Tobol
The term â€śclimate changeâ€ť is used often these days, in conjunction with â€śglobal warmingâ€ť and â€śextreme weather.â€ť Sure, we know that the earth is hotter today than it has been in the past four hundred years, the polar ice caps are melting and sea levels are rising. But what does it all actually look like? Most of us donâ€™t have the means or ability to see the effects of climate change, we usually just hear about it.
The current photography exhibition at the Henry Gregg Gallery in DUMBO, entitled â€śVisualizing Climate Change,â€ť brings powerful images from around the world to Brooklyn. Work of photographers Gary Braasch, Ashley Cooper, Benjamin Drummond, Peter Essick, Steve Kazlowski and Joshua Wolfe is on display, with subjects ranging from polar bears, to glaciers, to forest fires.
Brooklyn-based photographer Wolfe explained that, as members of GHG (which stands for greenhouse gas) Photos, these photographers deal with the basic question of: â€śHow do you portray something thatâ€™s happening as gradually as climate change?â€ť
â€śFor me, a lot of it is trying to explain through images not just that climate change is all extreme weather all the time and a polar bear,â€ť Wolfe explained. â€śThereâ€™s more depth to it, the issue is more complex, there are a lot of factors going into it.
â€śAny of us working individually canâ€™t create such a complete or such a nuanced picture of climate change,â€ť he continued. â€śOur goal is to present people with whatâ€™s going on, to give a more complete picture.â€ť
On one wall of the gallery is a photo by Wolfe of an oil pump in the foreground and a group of wind turbines in the background. Another by Kazlowski â€” whom Wolfe calls â€śthe best polar bear photographer in the worldâ€ť â€” is a member of the threatened species swimming in the Beaufort Sea in the Arctic Ocean. Yet another by Cooper shows a man knee deep in water in his South Yorkshire kitchen, searching for food after floods in the summer of 2007.
Hanging on another wall of the gallery is a series of before and after photos of glaciers, taken by Wolfe and Braasch, portraying the stark decrease in glacier size over the years.
Using photography as the medium to portray climate change was challenging, says Wolfe. â€śIf you look at photojournalism, we really thrive on an event. We thrive on a conflict. We know how to do wars, we know how to do protests, to a lesser extent, we know how to do celebrities,â€ť he said. â€śGradual, decade-long, century-long, year long changes arenâ€™t things that photojournalism is necessarily comfortable with.â€ť
Adding to the difficulty, Wolfe says, is that in some cases itâ€™s hard to tell if something like extreme weather is climate change or not. â€śWith hurricanes or forest fires or droughts, is this just noise in the system or is this definitively climate change?â€ť he asked, which is the reason for pairing before and after photos of glaciers, or juxtaposing a picture of a forest fire in Greece with a satellite image of more fires ravaging the country.
Collaboration with Henry Gregg Gallery director AndrĂ© Martinez-Reed gives the show a different perspective: â€śHeâ€™s relating to the images in a different way than I do,â€ť Wolfe said. â€śAndrĂ© mixed them up to make a layered and more nuanced story.â€ť
â€śEach individual show has its own spirit, its own energy,â€ť said Martinez-Reed. â€śWith Visualizing Climate Change, it gives people a chance to experience something thatâ€™s going on in the world that probably they wouldnâ€™t normally have an opportunity to experience.â€ť
â€śWe have this unique experience to view a lot of the things going on with climate change that the average person canâ€™t see,â€ť Wolfe said. â€śWeâ€™re changing the way people look at things around them.â€ť
Visualizing Climate Change will be on view at the Henry Gregg Gallery at 111 Front St., Suite 226, in DUMBO through June 21. The exhibit is also on view at the Port Authority building at the corner of 42nd St and 8th Ave in Manhattan. Wolfe will be speaking at this Thursdayâ€™s Nerd Nite at Galapagos Art Space in DUMBO about climate change.
Questions? Comments? Sound off to the Editor
Â© Brooklyn Daily Eagle 2009
All materials posted on BrooklynEagle.com are protected by United States copyright law.
Just a reminder, though -- Itâ€™s not considered polite to paste the entire story on your blog. Most blogs post a summary or the first paragraph,( 40 words) then post a link to the rest of the story. That helps increase click-throughs for everyone, and minimizes copyright issues. So please keep posting, but not the entire article. arturc at att.net