Yesterday I escaped the hustle and bustle of
Within seconds of looking at the first image of the exhibit called Hard Rain, I too was staring just as intently at it as the others. Forget Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth you won’t learn anything new there, its all been seen before and is largely only going to preach to those already converted. In contrast, Hard Rain should be shown in every school, as well as to every government official, whether national, regional or city, no matter whether they are elected or just a civil servant. That is if we are serious about wanting to change the world in a fairer manner and reverse some of the damage we are doing to the earth.
As an exhibition its made up of a series of photographs in response to Bob Dylan’s A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall. Some of the images you might have seen before, I certainly have but in no way did that take anything away from the power that these images had.
The concept of the exhibition, is devastatingly simple. Environmental photographer Mark Edwards takes the words of Dylan's apocalyptic song and illustrates each line with a single image. There is also a succinct commentary, calmly condemning "wilful, inane and immoral carelessness towards people and planet by both our leaders and ourselves". And that's it.
So how come I think everyone should see this exhibition, especially those who are in a position to change the way we do things? Well quite simply, because each image powerfully portrays a world gone desperately wrong. The overall result of the exhibition as you walk away from it is our shared responsibility for climate change, for poverty (both spiritual and material), for habitat loss and for the abuse of basic human rights. The message is that environmental and human poverty reinforce each other. Many sensitive and informed people are aware, to at least some extent, that if only through their consumption patterns they contribute to the raping of our environment and to appalling mistreatment of our fellow beings, human and non-human. These images, from many countries and many contexts heighten that awareness, and bring it into acute focus like someone punching you hard in the gut.
On a personal level this exhibition allayed some of my fears that I had in regard to the overuse, and manipulation, of images was taking away our ability to be shocked by horrible events,
The first time I can remember images that shocked me I was around 7 years of age. I had just had a lecture for not eating the food on my dinner plate when I turned on the news and for the first time in my life I saw the effects of famine in
This exhibition though, brought
You see a picture with the Taj Mahal in the background, one of the most beautiful buildings in the world, but in the foreground, by the edge of the River, lies a human corpse, half silted over, with a scabby dog nosing it. Just beyond the dog, on a sandbank, stand three vultures, waiting. Its masterful photography that you don’t really want to look at and yet at the same time, as you head takes it all in, you can’t pull yourself away from it.Edwards's pictures are about the destruction of people, animals, plants, forests, oceans, rivers and communities and about the destruction of dignity and hope as well as of life. That is why they are each so disturbing.
If you are in