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Photographers capture Earth’s changing circumstances

SOUP: Bird’s Nest (Image 1 of 6)

Ingredients: discarded fishing line that has formed nestlike balls due to tidal and oceanic movement. Additives: other debris collected in its path.

Photo by Mandy Barker, 2011 

Greenland (Image 2 of 6)

Water collects in a seasonal lake atop the Greenland ice sheet. With the Earth’s warming climate, the melt season is now longer.

Photo by Daniel Beltrá, 2014; courtesy of Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago; from the series “Greenland”

Working at Night (Image 3 of 6)

Recycling workers pick through waste in a dump in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, for plastic bags in the middle of the night. They rent miners’ lamps and batteries for US$0.25, about a quarter of what they will make on a night shift.

Courtesy of Nigel Dickinson, 2007; from the series Smokey Mountain and Recycling Phnom Penh


Spanish Moss (Image 4 of 6)

Photo by Karen Glaser, 2009; from the series Springs and Swamps

Endangered African Wild Dogs (Image 5 of 6)

“The plain truth is that when we save species, we’re actually saving ourselves.” –Joel Sartore

Lycaon pictus, Omaha, Nebraska 

Photo by Joel Sartore, 2011; courtesy of National Geographic; from the series Photo Ark


Human Conveyor Belt (Image 6 of 6)

In a mining area west of Ilakaka in Madagascar, men search for rough sapphires that resemble gray gravel to the untrained eye.

Photo by Toby Smith, 2013; from the series Madagascar: Treasured Island


The Anthropocene is in vogue. The trendy term describing a new age of immense human impact leaped from obscurity to popularity in environmental discourse following humanity’s own leap to becoming the single most dominant force on the planet.

One word can hardly encapsulate the range of human change wrought on Earth, so photographers presenting their work as part of the 16th International Biennial of Photography and Mixed Media Art hosted by arts nonprofit FotoFest are trying to strike at the core of that transformation.

With scenes of change from melting in Greenland to plastic pollution, all of the projects deal in some way with the Anthropocene and serve as frames in our common film, still snapshots of an ever-changing world.

The exhibit, “Changing Circumstances: Looking at the Future of the Planet,” will be on display in Houston March 12 through April 24. View Ensia homepage

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