WATER: Our Thirsty World - New Exhibit with National Geographic Opens

Yes we've reached another great moment at the Photography Space...a new exhibit in conjunction with National Geographic's special single-topic issue focuses on the world's freshwater crises. We also celebrated our ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY! On hand to help us launch the new show and offer a hearty happy birthday were all the nice folks from National Geographic: (L-R) Sandra Postel (NG Freshwater Fellow & Director of the Global Water Policy Project), Terry Garcia (NG Executive VP, Mission Programs), William Marr (NG Director of Photography; rear) Wallis Annenberg (Annenberg Foundation Chairman of the Board, President and CEO; front), Sarah Leen (Senior Photo Editor for National Geographic magazine), Lynn Johnson (featured photographer - "The Burden of Thirst"), Jonas Benkdiksen (featured photographer, "The Big Melt"), John Stanmeyer (featured photographer, "Sacred Waters"), Chris Johns (National Geographic magazine Editor in Chief) and Dennis Dimick (National Geographic magazine Executive Editor) This is another shot without the photographers but with our own Pat Lanza, the Talent and Content Manager for the Space. And here's one with just Wallis and the photographers who attended. (L-R; John Stanmeyer, Wallis Annenberg, Lynn Johnson, Jonas Bendiksen) What is the show like? It's intense. The print show mirrors the NatGeo issue, covering six major themes - The Big Melt, California's Pipe Dream, The Burden of Thirst, Parting the Waters, Silent Streams, and Sacred Waters. At a small cocktail party/reception we hosted a few hundred people who took in the images - some beautiful and some tragic - before gathering in the digital gallery to hear a few words and watch the digital feature. Among the guests were previous exhibitors in the Space like Laurence Ho (L8S ANG3LES Exhibit), ...and Lauren Greenfield (L8S ANG3LES Exhibit) ...not to mention a number of our lecturers like Juergen Nogai (with his lovely wife Jeannie) ...Gerd Ludwig who is also actually an exhibitor in the current show. (here with Chris Johns of NatGeo) ...Rick Rickman (seen here with some party crasher). ...and Douglas Kirkland's divine wife Françoise! We were also graced by the new Director of MOCA, artworld emprassario Jeffrey Deitch! Once inside the Digital Gallery, we were treated to a small introduction by Leonard Aube (Annenberg Foundation Executive Director) ...and then some lovely words from Lauren Greenfield who heralded our first year, revealed that her first job was as a NatGeo intern, and brought Wallis to the podium. ...then Wallis introduced NatGeo Editor in Chief Chris Johns, who ...wait for it...wait for it... ...introduced the show! You can watch it online by clicking the image above, but if you really want the full experience, I think our 7'x14' screens are a better way to see it. So come down to the Space, Wednesdays through Sundays, 11am-6pm (Except Thursdays when we close at 5pm to prepare for the lecture). And take a look at the upcoming lectures to make sure you don't miss any speakers in this vital series about Our Thirsty World! (all images © Angela Weiss for the Space)

Beltra Offers First IRIS Nights Lecture for WATER Exhibit

Daniel Beltra kicked off the IRIS Nights Lecture series for the WATER: OUR THIRSTY WORLD exhibit last night with a wake-up call of a lecture.

A very soft-spoken but decidedly NOT timid man, Daniel took us on a virtual tour through the hills of Patagonia, Alaska, the Ross Sea and the Amazon Rain Forest.

Through the process he was able to address glaciers shrinking, ice caps melting,

animals being threatened with extinction,


drought,


flooding,

logging,

mining,

massive fires


and all the other fun stuff you'd expect to hear about on a Thursday night out.

It was pretty intense stuff - A perfect match for our current exhibit.

Thank you, Daniel, for a great launch.

(All photos © Unique for the Space)

Balazs Gardi returns to the Space

POYi winner Balazs Gardi, who was one of the featured photographers in the 66th POYi Exhibit last year, returned to the Space to present an insightful and heartfelt lecture on marginalized communities facing water crisis.

Balazs, whose works are mostly independent, started his presentation with his images documenting conflict situations in Afghanistan. His presentation also covered communities experiencing water related crisis in Australia, Dubai and even Las Vegas.

Balazs is known for using photography as a base but layering it in way that reaches out to people. His unique presentation was a multimedia feature that included audio, still images and motion graphics.

At the end of the lecture, Balazs shared his views on modern social utilities, such as Twitter, as an independent voice and alternative to traditional media outlets. Social media is a new way for like minded people to share experiences on water related issues that won't appear in traditional media sources.

The lecture was followed by some very pointed and interesting questions from the audience, fielded by an unflappable Balazs.

Despite the gravity of the discussion, the lecture was well balanced with fear, hope and even some humor.

One question in particular focused on the frustration of solving the problem of water crisis and whether an actual solution exists.

Balazs answered very adamantly with "I think every problem has an answer to it...

...I am a very optimistic person with a lot of cynicism."

(All Photos © Unique for the Space)

"Burden of Thirst" with Lynn Johnson and special guest Jim Thebaut

Lynn Johnson, one of the featured photographers in our current exhibition, WATER: Our Thirsty World, was joined at the Space on Thursday by documentary filmmaker, Jim Thebaut.

The two environmental activists delivered a moving recount of the water crisis that included a blend of powerful imagery and stories of local heroes who act for change in their communities.

For what she describes as one of the most meaningful photographic works of her life, Lynn traveled on assignment for National Geographic to Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia to learn and document the stories of women and children and their struggle to gather water.

To find these stories, National Geographic partnered with WaterAid, an NGO nestled in the community - that has helped to implement responsible and sustainable solutions to overcome the crisis in these areas.

With the help of WaterAid, water committees made up of local constituents including women, have been established providing women the resources and education to organize and manage water and sanitation facilities.

Lynn's images depict the burden of water and the burden of violence as a connected conflict facing all women in these communities-

the sickness and disease experienced due to contaminated water and lack of hygiene education,

...inadequate human waste disposals due to water inaccessibility,

...and sexual violence and physical abuse due to long distance travels to find safe water.

While Lynn and Jim's lecture focused on the challenges of the water crisis,

it delivers a message of how individuals can create change with global impact right from their very own back yards.

To learn more about how you can create change visit WaterAid.com.

The Space brings a little (Ken) Light to Town


Imagine photographing in complete darkness using a Hasselblad camera no auto focus, no fast film, with a single flash. Today this scenario would present quite the challenge but in 1982 it was the technique of photography and single best method for highly acclaimed photographer Ken Light.


Born in the Bronx, raised in East Meadows, NY- social photographer, organizer and filmmaker Mr. Light graced the stage at the Space and he brought the nostalgia of film and the great photographers of the past with him.


Covering his works of the last 40-years, Ken presented images of the 1970 Ohio State University riots, travels with President Nixon, race relations in Mississippi, to his current portfolio documenting the socioeconomic decline of California Central Valley.


He also discussed his now famous coverage of death row inmates and gave a nod to his recent court case with Current TV and Al Gore - where he sued for their unauthorized use of one of his images

...sadly the court sided with the other guy!

And of course as a professor and curator at the University of Berkley, Ken did not fail to mention the great traditions of American photography or its founders...


...giving shout outs to the great Lewis Hine, Dorothea Lange, and Walker Evans and their work during the Great Depression. During the lecture, Ken explained that it is the duty of every generation of photographers to reexamine the same issues of the past so these issues don't go ignored.

In other words, New School meet the Old School


and don't forget the R-E-S-P-E-C-T!

After answering questions from the audience, Ken autographed books in the ASP Reading Room.

Thank you Professor Light! Very illuminating!

(All pictures © Unique for the Space)

Camille Seaman brings timeless wisdom to the Space

"...the Earth is not just our mother - we are made of this..." Camille Seaman said as she loaded up her first slide.

"None of us were born in space or on another planet - so everything that went into creating us came from this planet. And this planet is made from pieces of exploding stars...all of the metals that form the core of our planet - the metals that we mine and adorn our bodies with come from exploding stars."

"...we are made of stars..."

This was only the start of Camille Seaman's lecture at The Space yesterday, as she took us along on her personal journey (tagged onto the end of the story of creation!) to becoming a National Geographic  award-winning photographer.


Admitting that she was, by both nature and heredity, a bit of a storyteller, she proceed to tell us the story of her travels and growth as a photographer.

Camille played a slideshow of her current portfolio. Her soft-spoken voice only enhanced the boldness of her storytelling and photographic work documenting the fragile environment of the North and South Pole regions.

Her images are as courageous as they are beautiful.

Camille's life and work is inspirational and the peace, scale and calmness of her photography is thrilling.


After viewing her portfolio on the huge digital screen (a size perfectly suited for a subject so enormous), and following her unfolding of her perspective from having visited the vast openness of the planet's poles multiple times,


you couldn't help but to leave the presentation last night loving the earth just a little bit more than you did before.

At the end of the night she raffled off some prints to raise funds and awareness about her next (and last) visit to the Arctic, weaving the guests into her personal story of documenting the fragile extremes of our planet.


Thank you Camille for spreading the earth love!

(All photos © Unique for the Space)

Dennis Dimick comes full circle back to the Space


Dennis Dimick returned for a fourth visit to our Space - this time to gave a special inside-edition lecture about National Geographic 's current magazine issue, "Water" and other environmentally-focused previous issues.

Dimick was National Geographic  magazine's representative who first brought the concept of the special Water issue to our board last year as a potential exhibit and partnership between National Geographic  magazine and the Annenberg Space for Photography. He told us that his original presentation was based on a feature story from 1992 that he edited for the magazine about the coming freshwater crisis. Prescient!

He came for a second visit once the Water issue was coming together with actual images from around the world to show to us ... and of course he was here a third time for our opening in March. Now he returned to discuss National Geographic  magazine's leadership in combining photojournalism with environmental issues to study our planet's fragile state.

As the executive editor in the area of environmental issues, it is clear that Dennis' dedication to these issues has brought National Geographic  well-deserved praise.

Along with a catalogue of some amazing photographs, he brought a surprising tone of practicality to the endless debate of going green and going greener - or as Dennis puts it, moving from competition to collaboration and learning to do better with the resources you already have. His inspiration, he said, was rooted in his own upbringing on a farm...

...and his own personal journey shifted - as did the journeys of many of us attending - when he first encountered the famous image of the Earth from space on the cover of the Whole Earth Catalog.

Covering some dense perspectives of our current environmental challenges, i.e., responsible disposal of electronic waste or recyclables, Dennis began the lecture with some personal inspirations that have led to his part in the creation of National Geographic 's stories.

Our growing population,

and the attendant rise in CO2 output,

the frightening reminders of our shrinking glaciers,

and the resulting climate changes that have brought about new flooding,

as well as new droughts,

and draining reservoirs.

It wasn't what I would call a feel-good lecture but it was amazingly clear, level-headed and informative. This is a testament to the clarity with which Dennis approaches the global view of our climate changes and water crises.

Dennis was cool enough to hang out after the lecture to answer questions and view photographic work of lecturer goers, including some large prints in 3D by photographer Stuart Sperling.

Thank you for coming back Dennis...

...your presence is always welcome here!

Maisel makes your mind spin with Black Maps

Not many of our guest lecturers visit the Space to present a collection of images focusing on environmentally-polluted sites and then disassociate their work from the larger effort of global advocacy...especially in regards to our world's water crisis.

But in the case of New York-born Princeton and Harvard grad David Maisel, when it comes to his photography, his work neither represents answers to a conflict nor offers any resolution other than a sense of poetic truth.

...if this is your position David, then thou ART as wise as thou ART beautiful!

Maisel's aerial photographs of sites where the natural ecological order has been eradicated are images of a stunning atrocity.

At first glance, you see a brilliant photograph of splattered colors,

but upon further examination, the photo actually depicts a man-made sea of toxic minerals destroying our environment.

A bittersweet presentation, Maisel's work - titled Black Maps  - is a visually emotional creation that does more than just leave an impression...

...it speaks to the soul.

If you missed the lecture, this is unfortunately one time when you won't be able to watch it online.

However, we will be posting an audio file and a transcript,

as well as a gallery of more photos.

But you must see the work...

...it's truly unique.

Afterward, David was extremely genial and approachable.

He answered questions, chatted with guests...

...signed some copies of his book Oblivion ...

then bid us all goodbye and good night.

(All photos © Unique for the Space)

National Geographic's Griffin packs the Space!

Over the course of the current exhibition's IRIS Nights lecture series, we've had an incredible opportunity to get to know and love the staff of one of our favorite magazines - National Geographic .

The behind-the-scenes stories of how NatGeo  photographers capture those unparalleled moments of our changing world almost rivals the wonder of viewing the photographs published in the magazine.

So it comes as no surprise that our final executive guest lecturer from National Geographic , Director of Photography David Griffin...

...was greeted by a VERY full house last Thursday at the Space.

David delivered that sought-after narrative, bringing us inside National Geographic  and answered questions from the audience including the ultimate...how to become a National Geographic  photographer?

Wallis Annenberg, Neil Leifer,

Lauren Greenfield,

and Michael Robinson Chávez

were all in attendance at the Space for David's lecture and multimedia presentation.

Along with the first-hand stories from the front lines,

David brought video footage and behind-the-scenes stills of NatGeo  photographers chasing the moments,

capturing the extraordinary,

and covering over 100 years of published issues.

The lecture was at times funny,

at times frightening,

at times instructive,

and all in all, totally awe-inspiring.

Thank you David Griffin!

(All images © Unique for the Space)

Ian Shive offers Water & Sky at the Space

We were sad to hear that our June 3rd lecturer, Christian Cravo, had to cancel due to schedule conflicts. Fortunately the very pleasant Ian Shive agreed to step into the fray and lecture instead.

There's much to know about Ian Shive. Perhaps his passing resemblance to Christian Slater - whom he probably encountered during his former years working in publicity at Columbia Pictures - is not on the top ten list, but there are a number of other influential factors from his personal life that have shaped his perspective and allowed his work to stand apart from the masses of landscape photography.

On Thursday night, Ian shared his work at the Space and how and why he creates the images that leave our jaws wagging.

From Coachella Valley to Croatia, Ian Shive has travelled the world as a conservation photographer, achieving countless awards and national recognition along the way.

His current body of work examines how our world interacts with the planet's most valuable but increasingly threatened resource water.

Ian shared his most memorable accounts documenting ceremonial gatherings of water around the Ganges River to everyday communal get-togethers in Krka River in Croatia.

Ian has only been a professional full-time photographer for the last three years, but has been shooting since childhood.

His award-winning book The National Parks: Our American Landscape was released in 2009 and he shared numerous images from it.

It's clear that even without the accolades Ian would still be out in the field capturing these fantastic images and serving as an advocate for our environment.

His work is truly from the heart and you can see it in every image.

After the lecture, Ian answered a few questions from the enthusiastic crowd.

...and even though he didn't bring copies of his book to sign, some fans brought copies of their own...

A gentleman and a scholar, that Ian Shive...and so polite too.

Thank you Ian!

(All images © Unique for the Space)

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