Tuesday, 8 October 2013

The Syria Print Sale – Gina Glover's Print

Iceberg III, Jökulsárlón lake, Iceland © Gina Glover

I feel bad.

I'm looking at the dateline on the last post and podcast release. It's hard for me to believe that it was early May. We're five months on and only now am I getting round to the print sale mentioned way back then.

There are extenuating circumstances (business pressures, some health niggles) and I can find solace in the adage 'Better late than never', but nevertheless five months is a long time. Many opportunities to help people suffering in Syria have slipped by.

Let's not dwell on it – beyond me saying that I regret it took so long.

So let's get on with it.

To recap

If you've listened to episode 14 of the podcast, you'll know a little of the background to this. If you haven't had a chance to listen to it yet, please do. You'll hear a remarkable man speaking: Christian Payne, better known online as Documentally.

Christian visited Syria earlier this year to find out first hand what the situation was. He isn't a hardened photojournalist in the traditional sense. He doesn't rotate from crisis zone to crisis zone. Instead, he helps businesses, organisations and individuals tell their story using the multitude of storytelling channels available to us in the digital era.

Christian's visit to Syria affected him deeply. If you've listened to the episode, you'll have heard that. One thing struck me above all. A sense shared by Christian and the people he met that his visit was without consequence. It would have no impact on their situation in the refugee camps, and wider in Syria as a whole. People had come before to visit the camps under the banner of telling their story and nothing had changed. Why would this man, Christian, have any more to offer than journalists connected to large media outlets? I think Christian felt this too.

I know Christian to be a kind man. Generous too. I have benefited from his kindness. Eighteen months ago, I was sitting in my car, feeling deflated and defeated. I won't bore you with why. It was, though, the lowest I'd felt in a very long time. Out of the blue I got a message telling me that he'd gifted me a substantial upgrade on my Audioboo account. I was beyond touched. Particularly as he and I had only ever had minimal contact. I still don't really know why he chose to do that for me. I am very grateful however.

When he spoke of the doubt he felt about the value of his visit to Syria, it occurred to me that you and I, the Documentary Photographer community, such as it is, could show that we care – that we heard him speak of the people he met and that we would like to somehow contribute to alleviating the pain in some small measure among Syrians who have been victim of the violence.

The print sale is on

This will only be a droplet in the ocean, but as documentary photographers we're used to using small instances to illustrate a bigger whole or story. So if what we do helps only one person in some way to get through these traumatic times, that is valuable, I think.

I hope you agree. And if you do, that you are able to help out.

The plan is to raise €2,175 for Medecins sans Frontieres' Syria appeal by selling 15 prints donated by two wonderful documentary photographers: Gina Glover and David Creedon.

Gina was interviewed in episode 13 of the podcast. David was our guest in episode 9.

Gina's print

Gina has donated five exceptionally delicate and beautiful prints of her photograph titled Iceberg III, Jökulsárlón lake, Iceland – you can see it at the top of the post here.

The prints are on 10x8 inch paper with a 1 inch border at the sides and a 1.5 inch border top and bottom. Each one is signed by Gina in pencil.

The photograph will appear in Gina's new book The Metabolic Landscape, which is due out in February next year.

In the book, Gina addresses humankind’s search for more powerful sources of energy to sustain its increasingly industrial and urbanising existence, and she questions the real costs of our current energy consumption on our climate and ecosystems.

She explains that a "metabolic disease refers to energy-sourced medical problems like obesity or diabetes. The planet too is revealing signs of metabolic distress: melting glaciers, rising sea levels, coastal erosion, disrupted weather patterns, forest fires, rapidly diminishing biodiversity".

Gina's print is, to me, almost a metaphor for her entire project. It is very delicate and the image printed on it is almost illusive. It is vanishing into the mists – a victim of rising temperatures. At least, that's how it feels to me.

It is a print with meaning and story. An antidote too to the constant stream of pristine, ancient blue iceberg photographs we're bombarded with these days. It is a warning that, left unchecked, our behaviour will turn those pretty blue images into works of history rather than something that exists today.

Tomorrow we'll look at David's print and on Wednesday I'll post information about how you can buy one of the prints.

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