Sunday, November 21, 2010

Response to Earth Art: The Santa Fe River

Today I got  Bill McKibben article McKibben on EARTh: Earth art. It was this picture of an empty Santa Fe River that impressed me. A group of artist brought 'water' back to the river and called it 'Flash Flood.'  The following is my response to that image. I posted it on McKibben website and brought it here for my family and friends.
A river without water… I closed my eyes and opened them again yet the empty space didn’t go away. The Santa Fe River Art is a powerful image. Thanks to the artists for providing another way to see planet Earth.
I have always lived in places that have abundant water, fresh water and ocean water. I have seen pristine unpolluted places. I have swim in rivers whose waters you can drink. I have also appreciated the beautiful lakes and the city ocean shorelines with their elegant birds though in a different way. Even though those urban places may be polluted, I am glad there is water there. Thus even in those days when the algal blooms make them smell…I still like them.
I am left wondering if we can find a place in ‘the developed world’ where we can live and thrive without polluting the soil and the water…or without having Santa Fe Rivers. There is so much to learn from those people that still see themselves as part of the environment and not the reverse. Our hopes lie in us as much as it lies in them.
As an ecologist and an earth citizen who studies the interactions between humans & the environment, these images made me reflect about the ways our species uses its power. The images brought Rachel Carson back to my mind.”Only within the moment of time represented by the present century has one species-man- acquired significant power to alter the nature of his world.” I also thought of her saying “Open your eyes and ask yourself: What if I had never seen this before? What if I knew I would never see it again?” I sighted and wished that the second phrase was true.See McKibben article here

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Vanishing Act by Art Wolf with text by Barbara Sleeper (Review)

Vanishing Act

Art Wolf is a nature photographer. In his own words "this book is about animal's incredible ability to vanish in plain sight." He describes the book as interactive because the reader ought to find the hidden critter. The capacity to 'vanish in plain sight' is described here as camouflage, deception, disguise,and the lures and decoys employed by the species to avoid predation or to attack without being detected by the potential prey. The description of what biologist would call cryptic behavior or bayesian mechanisms is not described here in scientific terms but instead as powerful visual images.
This book the authors say, portraits the world we live in "an eat-or-be eaten world." And it also portraits the will of animals to stay alive!
The 'Vanishing Act'honors some of those species that are vanishing or becoming endangered or extinct, but mostly it focus in the ability of cryptic species to hide. Beyond that, this book is an expression of the visual art and of the skills of an accomplished photographer.