SWC photography class experiences Prix Pictet Power Exhibit

Photography is power - Instructor Todd Stands with the SWC photo students at MOPA (Museum of Photographic Arts). Photo by Marianna Saponara.

Photography is power – Instructor Todd Stands with the SWC photo students at MOPA (Museum of Photographic Arts). Photo by Marianna Saponara.

Images of Mother Nature’s herculean cataclysmic forces of earthquakes, tsunamis, and droughts are interwoven with man’s destructiveness at the Museum of Photographic Arts (MOPA’s) Prix Pictet Power Exhibit in Balboa Park.

Prix Pictet has already gained a reputation as a leading photography award Private Geneva-based Swiss bank Pictet & Cie is the founder and sponsor of this prestigious award given to amateur and professional photographers whose images present social and environmental change. Since 2008, Pictet & Cie has granted four awards valued at Swiss Francs 100,000 each. Previous themes include, Water, Earth, Growth and the fourth theme, this years, is Power.

Photographers are artists whose images reflect upon our times. Adjunct SWC instructor Todd Stands arranged for his Beginning Digital class to see MOPA’s Power Exhibit.

Russian born SWC student Alena Ytneva, 25,  commented on Russian photographer Rena Effendi’s work.

“I liked Effendi’s ‘Still Life in the Zone’,” Ytneva said. “This is a strong picture telling us about the hopelessness and despair of the 200 elderly women who live there. They know that place is killing them. They are extremely poor but probably have other reasons to stay. There are lots of details in Effendi’s still life. There are onions, dirty empty dishes, garlic skins, empty beer bottles, shaving razor—all these objects should not be together. Effendi wanted to show drama in her picture.”

Gloria Estrada 66, Landscape Technology Floral Design commented about winner Edmund Clark’s piece titled Camp Six, Shackles.

“When I saw Clark’s Shackles it scared me!” “Shackles limit what you can do. The government can stop you from doing what you want,” stated Estrada.

Estrada also saw Clark’s image in this way.

“Shackles of our minds—I see something I want to do so I have to work harder,” stated Estrada. “People will tell you that you cannot do it. There is a power people have over you and you feel helpless with a broken spirit.”

Prix Pictet winner Joel Sternfeld lives in New York City and teaches at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York. In November 2005 Sternfeld went to the 11th United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Monrteal, Canada. Sternfeld took photos of the climate change participants at moments where facial expressions of horror were readily seen from the ecological collapsing content they were hearing.

Jessica Guzman 27 Photography major reflected upon Sternfeld’s image “William J. Clinton”.

“Sternfeld captured Clinton’s facial focus, a changing moment where he looked concerned and puzzled about climate change. Things are out of control by man’s climate damage,” Guzman said. “I see this as power. The world is so consumed with power and not humanity.”

Ytneva, Estrada and Guzman saw the power of Mother Nature’s wrath getting back at us.

“It is devastating to know we, as an advanced race, could not see tsunamis coming,” said Estrada. “Just look at the wonder of Mother Nature. It’s scary, wonderful and beautiful at the same time.”


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