Aquarium maintenance info session.
Outside the Nisqually Reach Nature Center, two kayakers returned from a 15 mile trip around Anderson island. The two had planned to camp over on the island, but seeing the weather was not going to be the most hospitible, they decided to come back to Luhr Beach, pack up gear, eat their meal and dream about their next adventure.
“Perhaps in both of these motifs- land-as-scenery and man-altered-landscape- photography has moved too quickly from scenery to destruction, without paying enough attention to the complex relationships and the lived experiences inhabitants have with a land. Perhaps this is inevitable, because American land conservation, from its inception, has tended to separate man from nature, and the medium of photography only reinforces such a philosophy.”- Subhankar Banerjee from Photography Changes Everything.
Subhankar Banerjee was born in 1967 in India, where following artistic pursuits was not deemed prudent. Yet artistic influences from writers and activists and the cinema were able to spark his curiosity. His studies earned him a Master in two degrees: Computer Science and Physics. While studying in New Mexico, he became more aware of his love for open spaces, and further after joining the Sierra Club. Then when a job as a mathematics and computer technician for the Boeing Company brought him to Seattle, WA he began mountaineering and joined photography clubs. By the year 2000, he had decided to make a change. With the help of friends, family, and his savings he set out to embark on a new life as an artist, activist and educator. He would spend 14 months in the Arctic documenting his first book “Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: Seasons of Life and Land (2003).
In 2003 images from his book were put on show at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, but he was censored and his work deemed propaganda by some. Prior to the exhibition opening, photographs slated to be on display in the Smithsonian’s main floor rotunda were subsequently moved to an obscure lower-level room. Additionally, captions meant to accompany his photographs were either edited, or entirely removed. The censorship that took place at the same time Congress was debating to drill for gas and oil in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge. Reaction was as followed by the media:
“It’s sweet justice when attempts at censorship backfire and call attention to the very thing the censor hoped to hide” -LA Times
“You don’t have to have a degree in museum studies to figure out something fishy is going on.”- Senator Richard Durbin, Illinois Democrat
From melting ice, and receding cultures of the Arctic, in 2006 he turned his focus homeward to the New Mexico desert, where he lived for many years. Drought is the dirty word of climate change in these parts for over a decade. He learned from 2001-05, 90 % of its mature trees, 55 million pinons trees died. And the sequence begins: drought, fire, floods. Seasonal shifting and volume of precipitation is what climate change looks like. These sequences of disasters are all linked to climate change.
For Banerjee, the media that reports stories of devastation linked to climate change events, fails to recognize and ask how climate change is the vehicle to this human suffering, thus the media is becoming entertainment. Images reported of natural disasters are in his words “an exercise in perversion” he believes only corporate media and big time contactors benefit when they land those contracts to rebuild.
More recently he edited and provided images for “Arctic Voices: Resistance at the Tipping Point” (2012) Change is evident in these native testimonies accompanied by photographs to help raise awareness to indigenous human rights and to document the loss of their culture due to the effects of climate change.
Banerjee is part of a group of artist in the expedition “Vanishing Ice: Alpine and Polar Landscapes in Art, 1775–2012.” It is a time capsules of images created from paint and pen and ink.
Whatcom Museum, Bellingham, Washington, Last day before national tour is 2 March 2014!
PNW Scuba Divers!