Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
September 3, 2009

BAGnewsOriginals: Fire Watching


I wanted to share this photo with you from BNN contributer Nina Berman. Nina has been working on a project about the consequences of climate change.

The image “British Columbia Fire watching, Notch Hill” represents one of the hundreds of fires that have been burning across the province this summer. According to Climate Ark, over 1,700 square kilometers have burned this fire season, more than double the average over the past seven years. Global warming not only contributes to more fires by causing disease, drought and even spawning plant life that fuel flames but, in a vicious cycle, fires themselves account for a sizable amount of the carbon dioxide being released each year into the atmosphere.

With climate change contributing to more intense and disastrous environmental conditions around the world, including intense and free burning firestorms or “mega-fires“, what’s haunting about the image, perhaps prophetic, is how it simultaneously connotes a feeling of “nuclear winter” and also a sheep-like sense of “come what may.”

(image: ©Nina Berman/NOOR, August 2009)

About the Photographer

Nina Berman

Nina Berman is a documentary photographer with a primary interest in the American political and social landscape. She is the author of two monographs, "Purple Hearts – Back from Iraq" and "Homeland," both examining war and militarism. Her work has been recognized with awards in art and journalism from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the World Press Photo Foundation, the Open Society Institute Documentary Fund and Hasselblad, among others. She has participated in more than 90 solo and group exhibitions, including the Whitney Museum 2010 Biennial, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Portland Art Museum, and Dublin Contemporary. Her work has been featured on CBS, CNN, PBS, ABC, BBC and reviewed in the New York Times, Aperture, Art in America, TIME, and the New Yorker. She is a member of NOOR photo collective and is an Associate Professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She lives in New York City. See more of Nina's work for Reading The Pictures here.

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