Thanks to PhotoKunst and The Shades of Compassion Foundation, one of my photographs is part of the Shades of Compassion group exhibition, which will be travelling in the US, and internationally between 2022-2027. UPDATE 19 December 2022: The exhibition is Premiering at the Headley Whitney Museum, Lexington, Kentucky, United States in March 2023.
As the PhotoKunst website says “the exhibition’s primary goal is to promote compassion worldwide through inspirational, thought provoking photographs. Drawn from a diverse roster of forty-one international fine art photographers, the fifty exhibition photographs encompass a diverse spectrum of perspective, subject and artistic expression”.
Ansel Adams, Wolf Ademeit, Carol Beckwith & Angela Fisher, Daniel Beltra, Niki Boon, Phil Borges, Nick Brandt, Ernest H. Brooks Ii, Kevin Bubriski, Tom Chambers, Imogen Cunningham, Virgil Dibiase, Tj Dixon & James Nelson, Melinda Hurst Frye, Maurizio Gjivovich, David Gonzalez, Misha Gordin, Robert & Shana Parke Harrison, Michael Kenna, Angela Bacon Kidwell, Marla Klein, Jon Kolkin, Lisa Kristine, Joey Lawrence, Ruth Lauer Manenti, Rania Matar, Beth Moon, Nasa / William Anders, Wayne Quilliam, Chris Rainier, Antonio Aragon Renuncio, Manjari Sharma, Maggie Taylor, Joyce Tenneson, Jerry Uelsmann, Dave Walsh, Alice Zilberberg, Zoe Zimmerman.
Here’s my contribution to the exhibition:
When I made this photo, I was acting as a communications advisor on board the Greenpeace Ship Arctic Sunrise ahead of the infamous 2009 Copenhagen COP15 climate summit. Even though I was involved in the vanguard of climate change communication by taking part in this expedition, looking back, I don’t think I really grasped the enormity of what we were trying to document and convey. What happens in the Arctic doesn’t stay in the Arctic – and the impacts of climate change in the Arctic will, and are already having impacts elsewhere in the world.
I know that through my own images, I have been attempting to convey something beyond the facts of climate change and changing planet. I wanted to go beyond the tone of pathos that has become part and parcel of documentary photography. I wanted to go beyond making beautiful photographs to hang on people’s walls. I wanted to go beyond people thinking oh, that’s happening somewhere else. What I wanted to provoke compassion, to force a connection between the the images and one’s owned lived experience. I wanted people to feel dismay, but not to feel disempowered. Rather than switching off, I wanted to spark curiosity and concern, and a desire to help to achieve the changes we want and need, and to halt those that we do not.
So perhaps it is now fitting that my photograph be chosen for this group exhibition, Shades of Compassion.
About the the exhibition:
SHADES OF COMPASSION: A traveling fine art photography exhibition to foster compassion through visual and educational components addressing environment, humanity and spirituality. The exhibition is sponsored by the Shades of Compassion Foundation (501c3), and is represented by Photokunst.Drawn from a diverse roster of forty-one international photographers, the fifty exhibition photographs encompass a broad spectrum of perspective, subject and artistic expression. Curated to engender a nuanced experience of compassion, the exhibition invites the viewer to dig deeper into their understanding of compassion, an opportunity for inspiration and exploration.The photographs are sequenced and organized into three theme groups: Environment, Humanity, and Spirituality. Opportunities for engagement sparked by the photographs for exploring and experiencing compassion are wide ranging – recognizing planet Earth as our collective home, an expansive inter-dependent web of life containing microcosms of diverse wonders; weighing the fragility of endangered species and the complexity of human interactions with kindred life forms; witnessing isolation and alienation as well as the power of love, nurture, caring touch, inter-generational support, and transformative spiritual revelation.SHADES OF COMPASSION is designed to help visitors of all ages cultivate compassion.The photographs are complemented by interactive educational material designed to allow the experience of compassion to become more personal and embodied. Created under the guidance of leading experts, the educational components are age-appropriate and include both Facilitator-Guided and Self-Guided experiences, including an expanded curriculum that can be used to create further programming events that explore compassion.