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Thought-Provoking Portraits Shot Mid-Storm Highlight Severity Of Climate Change
By Yoon Sann Wong, 07 Dec 2015
“Can you imagine how complicated it would be to plan a shoot whilst chasing a storm? Coordinating models, building sets and designing lighting–all without knowing where the shoot would take place, while storms zip by at who knows how many miles per hour? It would be an absolute nightmare and impossible to pull off without funding! We should think of a different project.”
This was photographer Benjamin Von Wong’s initial reply to his assistant Anna when she proposed the idea to him.
Von Wong’s latest work–featuring the phrase “Climate Change Doesn’t Care”–involves photographing models in the middle of severe storms to create the thought-provoking visuals below.
The photographer hopes that these portraits will raise people’s awareness about, and hopefully ignite action to tackle the worsening problem of global warming.
The images juxtapose people’s everyday, minute concerns against the larger, more grievous environmental issue at hand.
Similar to many of us, Von Wong originally “shied away from negative news in hopes that if [he] ignored it, someone smarter and more qualified would come along and fix things, [then he] wouldn’t have to deal with the negativity”.
Frequently hearing about the chaos and saddening news that plague our world today can easily leave one feeling helpless when it comes to provoking change.
Nevertheless, transformation only comes about with each individual’s conscious effort to try his or her best to make a positive difference in the world.
“Regardless of how powerless I may feel, I want to put myself out there and try my best to make a positive difference in the world with the imagery I create,” says Von Wong.
The release of this work couldn’t be timelier as Paris hosts, from now till 11 December, the COP21 Climate Conference. This event has negotiators from more than 190 countries addressing issues related to global warming.
Von Wong explained the challenges that he and his team, comprising veteran weather and environmental photographer Kelly DeLay, as well as a small group of helpful friends and fans, faced throughout this storm-chasing project.
In addition to possessing zero control over where the storms would take them, the crew had less than 10 to 15 minutes for each shot, including set up and disassembly.
After traveling through seven different states in the US with hectic eight hour daily itineraries, the team managed to pull off the feat to produce the images below.
Watch the video to uncover the behind-the-scenes of this project and read more about it on Von Wong’s blog.
To learn more about climate change and how it’s affecting our planet, watch documentary Cowspiracy, a source of inspiration for this endeavor.
Related works that might interest you include artist Sean Yoro’s project ‘A’o ‘Ana’ featuring striking paintings on the sides of icebergs, these 600 fake ads protesting against brand sponsors of the COP21 Climate Conference, as well as Von Wong’s previous recreation of this iconic scene, shot underwater above a toxic gas layer for whisky brand Ballantine.
[via Benjamin Von Wong, video via The VonWong]
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