Celebrate Earth Day With a Last Look at FotoFest

The biennial considers the future of our planet.

Daniel Beltrá, Water collects in unnamed seasonal lake atop the Greenland ice sheet, 75 miles southeast of Ilulissat. With the Earth’s warming climate, the melt season now stretches 70 days longer than it did in the early 1970s from the series
Daniel Beltrá, Water collects in unnamed seasonal lake atop the Greenland ice sheet, 75 miles southeast of Ilulissat. With the Earth’s warming climate, the melt season now stretches 70 days longer than it did in the early 1970s from the series "Greenland" (2014).
Photo: courtesy of the artist and Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago.

Annual Earth Day celebrations are kicking into high gear April 22, and people around the world take a moment to reflect on environmental issues. This coming weekend also marks the end of the Fotofest International in Houston, Texas, which has dedicated its 2016 edition to climate change, industrialization, biodiversity, energy production, and water supplies.

Since its founding in 1970, Earth Day has aimed to limit humankind’s damage to the planet, to keep the air and water clean, and to protect endangered species. Over the years, many artists have supported the environmentalist cause, which has only become more pressing as it has become increasingly clear that the planet has entered a new era, the Anthropocene, defined by the global impact humans have had on the ecosystem.

Dornith Doherty, <em>Acacia</em> (2011). <br>Photo: courtesy Fotofest, with special thanks to the USDA National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation and the Boyce Thompson/UA Desert Legume Project.

Dornith Doherty, Acacia (2011).
Photo: courtesy Fotofest, with special thanks to the USDA National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation and the Boyce Thompson/UA Desert Legume Project.

At Fotofest, there are 34 participating artists included in “Changing Circumstances: Looking at the Future of the Planet,” curated by FotoFest executive director Steven Evans and cofounders Wendy Watriss and Frederick Baldwin.

“These are artists who have engaged the natural world and humanity’s place in that world, over many years,” said Wendy Watriss. “Many of the artworks manifest the artists’ rigorous investigations into science and philosophy.”

Vik Muniz, <em>Marat</em>. <br>Photo: courtesy Fotofest.

Vik Muniz, Marat.
Photo: courtesy Fotofest.

Among the participating photographers, Brazil’s Vik Muniz has documented the garbage pickers of São Paulo, who make their living sorting through the huge piles of trash outside the city, while Dornith Doherty‘s “Archiving Eden” series highlights the preservation efforts of international seed banks, which look to preserve crops threatened by climate change.

Juxtaposing scenes of stunning natural beauty with evidence of the destructive effects human activity can have on our world, the works in the biennial remind us of the urgent need to preserve the planet’s natural riches for future generations.

See more of the photos from Fotofest below:

Jamey Stillings, <em>The Evolution of Ivanpah Solar. A hill formation rises above the alluvial slope at the eastern boundaries of Units 2 and 3 with heliostat installation complete</em> (2013). <br>Photo: courtesy of the artist.

Jamey Stillings, The Evolution of Ivanpah Solar. A hill formation rises above the alluvial slope at the eastern boundaries of Units 2 and 3 with heliostat installation complete (2013).
Photo: courtesy of the artist.

Pedro David, <em>Suffocation #22</em> (2012–14), from the series "Hardwood." <br>Photo: courtesy of the artist.

Pedro David, Suffocation #22 (2012–14), from the series “Hardwood.”
Photo: courtesy of the artist.

Karen Glaser, <em>Fire in the Pines #1</em> (2010), from the series "Springs and Swamps." <br>Photo: courtesy of the artist.

Karen Glaser, Fire in the Pines #1 (2010), from the series “Springs and Swamps.”
Photo: courtesy of the artist.

Daniel Beltrá, <em>Water collects in unnamed seasonal lake atop the Greenland ice sheet, 75 miles southeast of Ilulissat. With the Earth’s warming climate, the melt season now stretches 70 days longer than it did in the early 1970s</em> from the series "Greenland" (2014). <br>Photo: courtesy of the artist and Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago.

Daniel Beltrá, Water collects in unnamed seasonal lake atop the Greenland ice sheet, 75 miles southeast of Ilulissat. With the Earth’s warming climate, the melt season now stretches 70 days longer than it did in the early 1970s
from the series “Greenland” (2014).
Photo: courtesy of the artist and Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago.

Dornith Doherty, Millennium Seed Bank Research Seedlings and Lochner-Stuppy Test Garden No. 4 (2011). Photo: courtesy of the artist, Holly Johnson Gallery, Dallas, and Moody Gallery, Houston.

Dornith Doherty, Millennium Seed Bank Research Seedlings and Lochner-Stuppy Test Garden No. 4 (2011).
Photo: courtesy of the artist, Holly Johnson Gallery, Dallas, and Moody Gallery, Houston.

The FotoFest 2016 Biennial is on view in Houston, Texas, March 12–April 24, 2016. 


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