Coal or Coral? These three small words have inspired a new photography project called Black & Blue: Coal or Coral by The Light Collective. Four landscape photographers, undertook nine flights across the Great Barrier Reef, four helicopter flights around nearby coal mines and five full days of shooting to produce this thought-provoking exhibition which opens on the 4th December in Melbourne’s Fortyfivedownstairs Art Gallery.
Open for just two weeks, the exhibition includes 25 large scale images from the Australian-based Collective: Adam Williams, Ricardo Da Cunha, Paul Hoelen and Ignacio Palacios.
Black & Blue: Coal or Coral is both captivating and confronting, offering an artistic exploration of the modern relationship between the extraction and consumption of old-world resources, and the well-being of one of our world’s great natural ecosystems.
With the Great Barrier Reef and coal mining industry selected as symbols of this greater global conversation, The Light Collective present a stark contrast of devastation and beauty while sparking powerful conversation.
Ten per cent of all sales from the exhibition and photography book will be donated to the Australian Marine Conservation Society and the exhibition has support from well-known ocean advocates Peter Garrett and Tim Winton.
Peter Garrett said: “I applaud The Light Collective for producing this incredibly timely work. Here in plain view, are the images that remind us what is at stake right now, as the most important natural wonder in the world, under siege from a warming climate, hangs in the balance. Black and Blue: Coal or Coral comes at a critical moment for the future of the wondrous Great Barrier Reef.”
Tim Winton said: “We have reached a point where we’re fighting for the Great Barrier Reef’s survival. And the greatest threat to its future is climate change. These beautiful and confronting images convey the urgency of the crisis we face and the reason we need to withdraw from our suicidal addiction to coal. And it’s not just the Reef – our poor planet is now black and blue – and we need to end the abuse while there’s still time. These pictures tell a stark and eloquent story we simply cannot ignore.”
Limited edition prints will be available for purchase ranging from $450 to $2,950 with the online gallery now open offering a curated selection for pre-purchase.
The exhibition marks the second chapter of The Light Collective’s Red, Green, Blue (RGB) project. In the “Blue” chapter, the team initially set out to focus purely on the beauty and grandeur of the Great Barrier Reef. A global icon of the purest blue.
However, the reef has suffered catastrophic losses in recent years from recurring bleaching events caused by rising ocean temperatures, and after deeper consideration, it seemed almost socially irresponsible not to address this as part of the project.
In September, The Light Collective launched its first Pozible campaign to amplify the project and raise funds to produce the coffee table book Black & Blue: Coal or Coral. With an initial target of $8,000, the campaign ended with $12,552 raised which enabled its production on carbon-neutral and sustainably-sourced paper and a further donation to the Australian Marine Conservation Society.
The first chapter “Red” in the greater RGB project by The Light Collective bolstered the talent and influence of the Collective in 2016, using their shared expertise and resources to present Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre through a series of aerial photography.
More on The Light Collective and its projects can be found here.
About the Exhibition:
Opens Tuesday 4 December, closes Saturday 15 December
fortyfivedownstairs, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
Gallery hours Tuesday to Friday 11am-5pm & Saturday 12pm-4pm