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Posted August 9, 2011
Art that elects to comment on our times fulfills one of the earliest reasons to make art. Stick drawings in ancient caves demonstrated the struggle for life and throughout art history artists, from the medieval tapestries and wall murals through the various depictions of the world without a god through the revolutions that changed global governing - all have warned while simultaneously celebrating advances of man. Perhaps the most impactful surveys have been form the hands of photographers whose works more than give impressions: they document reality.
This book is a project of the Pictet & Cie, one of Europe's leading private banks committed to public awareness of significant issues such as global sustainability, the issue at hand here is the theme of Growth. 'At once a blessing and a curse, growth, in all its forms, is one of the great conundrums facing humanity in the early decades of the twenty-first century. From the dizzying expansion of our cities with their ever increasing consumption of scarce natural resources tot he relentless growth of populations and the need to feed ourselves. Growth is a paradox. Just as it threatens to bring environmental catastrophe, so it improves living standards and health for untold millions of the world. We now face a global crisis in land use and agriculture that could undermine the health, the security and sustainability of our civilization. Meeting these new demands will be one of the greatest challenges of the twenty-first century.'
In seeking to explore these concepts this book represents the works of numerous photographers form around the world responding to the theme 'GROWTH'. The results are incredibly touching images that present the survey of good versus evil of the expansion resulting from growth. There are images of complex laboratories of companies committed to producing ever-larger supply of products, images form countries where the detritus of world becomes the shopping grounds for the poor, Super Markets with countless check out stations (Target), wasted natural beauty in the foreground of mountains by pod-like units for housing,an unforgettable image of a man buried up to his head by little dead fish (likely from an oil spill), heavy aircraft nearly crushing in proximity to beach bathers, lines and lines of busses and trains, masses of people in a bazaar buying nonessential items so quickly they become blurred - and at the same time individual images of families progressing form simple small groups to increased number of offspring sitting in rooms filled with televisions and computers and air conditioners and stereos set and fax machines and cell phones, clusters of small houses near nuclear plants, Coca Cola stands in the desert and in darkened terrifying streets. It is one of the most disturbing photographic statements that has been made, and yet these are the things we all glance at through our rose-tinted reality tainted glasses.
If more books such as this were made available to the general public (and especially to those elected officials in not only the USA but in all other countries as well we might just see a change. We can hope. This book is Important. Grady Harp