1 / 4       From the exhibition Scorched Earth China's Wounded Environmet. © James Whitlow Delano.

2 / 4       From the exhibition Scorched Earth China's Wounded Environmet. © James Whitlow Delano.

3 / 4       During the visit to the exhibition Scorched Earth / China’s Wounded Environment by James Whitlow Delano. © Stefania Biamonti/FPmag.
4 / 4       During the visit to the exhibition Scorched Earth / China’s Wounded Environment by James Whitlow Delano. © Stefania Biamonti/FPmag.

Pollution: a step away from the brink

«Every time in the last twenty years I have returned to China, I have always had the feeling that the air pollution had increased compared to the previous trip». With these words James Whitlow Delano begins talking about the work that he presents in the exhibition Scorched Earth / China’s Wounded Environment. The environmental situation is shown to be extremely serious and substantially contradicts the official government figures. Back in 2008, the US Embassy carried out tests on the air pollution levels in Beijing that belied, for the worse, those official ones. The installation in 2013 of five-air quality, monitoring stations revealed that the highest concentration of pollution was found within the area of Heibei, precisely where the political elite families had taken refuge to escape the pollution. This results to be produced mainly from coal combustion that releases huge quantities of polluting particles. Impressive, in this regard, the image of the window that appears almost black precisely because of these particles trapped on icy glass. Overall, the impression of this iconic work is characterised by the dark tones, almost gloomy, which makes Delano’s style unmistakable and that, more specifically, they are perfectly suited to the type of story told. The atmosphere of the places where «pollution exceeds even four times that of a day of smog in Los Angeles, a city notorious for its unbreathable air» is returned through a tonal range shifted toward the lower tones, accented by postproduction interventions that tend to overtly darken the skies. What is created is a sense of oppression that grips the viewer to almost create the feeling that it is difficult even to breathe.
A great work that of Delano, supported by a journalistic structure that commands respect. It is a shame that as usual the quality of the prints is not up to the excellence of the images. As already mentioned, in this case, however, we can consider this all in all as a venial sin, considering the choice upstream of the organisation to realise the outdoor exhibitions with inevitable concessions to the absolute quality of the printing. [ S. I. ]

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SCORCHED EARTH / CHINA’S WOUNDED ENVIRONMENT
by James Whitlow Delano
Riverside Gardens | December, 5th 2015 - January, 5th 2016
admission fee: free

– – –

[ INTERNAL RESOUCES ]
Angkor Photo Festival & Workshops on FPmag
Exhibitions and screenings

[ video ] A yearlong search: interview with Françoise Callier
[ video ] Interview with Jean-Yves Navel

[ EXTERNAL RESOURCES ]
James Whitlow Delano
Angkor Photo Festival & Workshops

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published on 2015-12-12 in NEWS / EXHIBITIONS

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