Photojournalism Now: Friday Round Up – 1 November 2019

This week on Photojournalism Now: Friday Round Up – a review of the new book from The Light Collective, Black and Blue: Coal or Coral.  This is an important book that comes at a time when the climate crisis is finally beginning to attract the attention it warrants.

Book review:

Black and Blue: Coal or Coral – The Light Collective

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Cerebrum (C) Ricardo Da Cunha
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Survivor (C) Ignacio Palacios

In 2016 I had the pleasure of reviewing the first book published by The Light Collective, Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre: Interpretations from the Air, an exceptional collection of aerial photographs that capture the ethereal beauty of this sacred place.

In the Light Collective’s latest book, Black and Blue: Coal or Coral, these five Australian-based landscape photographers use their collective voice to ask if we are prepared to lose what may be the greatest natural wonder – the Great Barrier Reef – to the greed of industry, the self interests of politicians and our consumerist societies? 

Juxtaposing the incredible beauty of the reef against photographs of a landscape ravaged by mining, this book acts as a reminder of what is at stake at a time when the Australian government is supporting one of the largest coal mining ventures in our history. Despite  irrefutable scientific evidence that the climate crisis is killing the Reef, mining continues unabated, and perilously close to the Reef.

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Industrious (C) Paul Hoelen

In the Age of the Image, to borrow from Fred Ritchin, the idea that seeing is believing is a powerful proposition. More than that, seeing is believing is built into our DNA; science has proven this.

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Broken Heart (C) Adam Wiliams
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Resurrection (C) Adam Wiliams
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Silent Scream (C) Adam Wiliams

The photographs of Adam Williams, Ignacio Palacios, Ricardo Da Cunha and Paul Hoelen come at a critical moment. Perhaps photography is the final hope in this fight for the Reef and more broadly, for the planet. These are images of beautiful suffering. Hopefully viewers can move past the aesthetic appeal to grasp the gravity of the story being told.

In the book Hoelen writes, “the immense degradation of the reef presents us with one of the most tangible and undeniable illustrations of the kind of impacts global warming holds for us, an unmistakable warning shot over the bow.” 

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Serenity (C) Paul Hoelen

We’ve heard the shot. We can now see what will be lost. The only question left to ask is: what will we do? It is a question for us as individuals and collectively as inhabitants of this earth.

Black and Blue: Coal or Coral is available from the Light Collective website.

The Light Collective is Adam Williams, Luke Austin, Ignacio Palacios, Ricardo Da Cunha and Paul Hoelen.

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