Mumbai: When Bob Dylan wrote A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall nearly 40 years ago to highlight the Cuban missile crisis, little did he know that the song would be interpreted in terms of climate change, another global crisis looming large over the 21st century. Mark Edwards, a British environmental communicator, photographer and author, illustrated this song with a selection of photographs taken the world over. The exhibition, curated by Edwards himself, includes photographs from his archives and other eminent photographers.
Mother and child living in a drainpipe, Calcutta, India. Mark Edwards / Still Pictures
The opening image, I Have Stumbled on the Sides of 12 Misty Mountains, a black and white photograph of Kathmandu taken 30 years ago on Christmas eve, shows a small, serene house with a thatched roof and two little goats running around playfully, against the backdrop of misty mountains and a cloudy sky. However, this is one of the few pictures that bring cheer. The following pictures depict the plight of humans—refugees, displaced populations, endangered species and human encroachments. Edwards believes that the root cause of most of these problems can be traced to climate change.
Commenting on the photographs, David Hone, group climate change adviser, Shell UK, said, “Some of the images, like the melting ice for instance, are very very evoking because they highlight the alarming rate of acceleration of climate change.”
A Bangladeshi refugee carrying his ill wife to safety during the 1971 war, a bird covered in oil after an oil spill off the coast of Brazil, a bright fire-coloured flash of lightning against a dark sky (a thunderstorm in Wisconsin, US)—Edwards’ works are a reminder of the helplessness of man when pitted against nature. “Mark Edwards is someone we lived and worked to admire. He started photographing nature in the days when environmental reporting and photography were not fashionable which indeed created a impact for we must not forget a picture is worth a thousand words,” said Darryl D’Monte, chairperson of the Forum of Environmental Journalists of India, at the inauguration of the exhibition in Mumbai on Tuesday.
Oiled bird, Brazil. D. Rodrigues / UNEP / Still Pictures
The exhibition, which has been displayed at over 50 venues globally, is in India as part of the British Council’s Low Carbon Futures Project. It will also travel to Kolkata and Bangalore.
According to Mark Edwards: “The last verse of the song begins with ‘What’ll you do now?’ It’s a question that can’t be left hanging when the Copenhagen talks come to a close.”
The exhibition is on display till 29 November on the lawns outside Bandra Fort, near Taj Lands End Hotel, as part of the Celebrate Bandra Festival.