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‘Beyond the Air We Breathe’: A photography exhibition in Bangkok looks at the impact of climate change

‘Beyond the Air We Breathe’: A photography exhibition in Bangkok looks at the impact of climate change

Asian premiere

Text: Megan Koh


Image: World Photography Organisation

Capturing melting icebergs, droughts and pollution, photographers such as Steve McCurry and James Nachtwey venture across threatening climates to make us re-assess the way we live on this planet

Temperatures are breaking records all over the world. Sea levels are rising at their fastest rate for more than 2,000 years. Glaciers are retreating in the Alps, Himalayas and Rockies. Capturing these inevitable movements are photojournalists and photographers, who have either been patiently waiting or were at the right place at the right time. 

There's no better time to pool together these startling albeit captivating images. If not now, then when? In a collaboration with The Royal Photographic Society of Thailand and Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, the Lucie Foundation presents a powerful photography exhibition addressing the causes and effects of global climate change. Happening from 28 June to 2 September at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, 'Beyond the Air We Breathe' comes to Asia for the first time. After its showcase in the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris, the exhibition has travelled to Italy, Mexico, the United States and now to Thailand.

Featuring 100 photographs from 80 world-renowned photographers, the exhibition is a revealing display of images that unveils the truth of climate change. While global warming is a familiar topic, these timely pictures evoke an urgency to act responsibly to our Earth. Refreshed in the lens of photography masters such as Steve McCurry, James Nachtwey and Sebastian Copeland, the photo series is engaging and deeply thought-provoking.

Aligning with the topic, Into the Cold: A Journey of the Soul is a documentary written and directed by Copeland that will be screened at the exhibition. The film follows the journey of Copeland and another polar explorer, Keith Heger, as they venture to the North Pole on foot and in sub-zero temperatures to commemorate the centennial of Admiral Peary's expedition in 1909. The award-winning documentary is riveting in message and cinematic pleasure. Going beyond the narrative of their personal expeditions to discover the North Pole in the backdrop, the film communicates the severity of climate change through the harrowing reminder of the vanishing polar icecaps, diminishing landscapes, and the impossibility of a bicentennial trek.

Extending the discussion in real life, 'Beyond the Air We Breathe' invites Copeland and photographer Tom Jacobi to divulge their experience in travel, passion for photography and ambition to communicate the consequences of climate change through their trade. Copeland was named as one of the world's top 25 adventurers of the last 25 years in the Men's Journal Magazine last year, while Jacobi was announced as 'Photographer of the Year' at the Moscow International Photo Awards in 2016. Both are big names in the scene, with Copeland present at the exhibition on 28 June while Jacobi will be on-site on 23 August.

From 28 June to 2 September at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, Thailand.

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