Camille Seaman: Melting Away
“There is a numinous and extraordinary presence in Camille’s work. In it, we see the difference between nature photography and art. It is the gift of every great photographer to show us what was concealed and invisible to our minds. This cannot be done with a viewfinder alone. It is the heart that sees the unseen. It is the artist who, in this case, dedicates years of her life so that we can see with new eyes.”—Paul Hawken, author of The Ecology of Commerce and Blessed Unrest
Camille Seaman has long been an advocate and a champion of our environment and her newest monograph, Melting Away: A Ten-Year Journey through Our Endangered Polar Regions published by Princeton Architectural Press, is another marker of her commitment to our planet. The book contains seventy-five photographs and six essays on nature, family, photography, and the future of our planet. She opens an exhibition (with a talk and book signing) on December 16th at the Half King Gallery in New York and at the 555 Gallery in Boston on the 17th, also with a talk and book signing.
Camile’s photographs have been published in National Geographic, New York Times magazine, Time, and Newsweek. Her photographs were showcased in a solo show at Washington D.C.’s National Academy of Sciences in 2008. She is a TED Senior Fellow whose 2011 TED Talk has been viewed more than 400,000 times. She lives in Emeryville, CA, and lectures globally about her work and experiences.
“Share this book. Buy a copy for your father-in-law and a second for your public library. Lobby until it’s on the list for your monthly book club. And, if you do such things, blog and tweet and post about it. Wire the world so that this particular [story] is connected to an ever-expanding array of people who will act.”—Elizabeth Sawin, from the foreword
For ten years, TED Senior Fellow and expedition photographer Camille Seaman has documented the rapidly changing landscapes of the Arctic and Antarctic. Her unique perspective of the landscape is entwined with her Shinnecock Native American upbringing: she sees no two icebergs alike. Each towering chunk of ice—breathtakingly beautiful in layers of smoky gray and turquoise blue—takes on a distinct personality, giving her work the feel of majestic portraiture.
In her powerful essays, Seaman reveals her struggle to be a good mother while dealing with the burden of being the voice of distressed remote locations. Seaman hasn’t been back to the Poles since August 2011 because the disappearance of ice and snow broke her heart. She watched firsthand the devastation on the polar bears and local birds caused by melting ice and warming seas. These are already taking their toll on non-Arctic regions, including the larger and more frequent storms in the U.S., such as Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Seaman concludes that going on these expeditions is being a good mother because she wants to protect the world her daughter will grow up in. Ultimately, she is urging all who look at her images to “be a good ancestor.”
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