Camille Seaman Exhibition and Artist Talk

Artist talk 28th November 7pm

This Month (and a half) we will be showing the work of photographer Camille Seaman.

Camille photographs both storms in the midwest of America and Icebergs in both arctics!

To give you a flavour of what Camille is about here are some excerpts from articles published recently. Camille is presently at sea but will be in the gallery doing a talk during her exhibition, we will announce the date. Camille has done TED talks and if these two of many articles are anything to go by it will be a “must see” talk.

"“I wasn’t born a storm chaser”, says Camille Seaman of her career which is far from commonplace. The American photographer’s interest in storm chasing came during an offhand moment: “I was watching my daughter and vacuuming whilst she was sitting on the couch watching storm chasing and it just looked so interesting - the colours, the light, and she caught me looking at the TV and told me I should do that!” she explains. “So, during a commercial break I Googled ‘storm chasing’ and a whole, new world appeared. Three days later, I was there, I was doing it.”

From this day Seaman’s photographic landscape shifted forever. “I feel a sense of belonging. Not because I’m photographing, but because I am present and realise that our experience as humans on this planet is limitless,” replies Seaman when asked what she has learned (and what she hopes others will learn) from her photographic series The Big Cloud. Recently published by Princeton Architectural Press, the book is both beautiful and shocking in its portrayal of Seaman’s experiences as a storm chaser.” DAZED 2018

And also this:

“In 1999, Camille Seaman was waiting to board a plane at Oakland International Airport when the gate attendant announced that the flight was oversold and offered a free round-trip ticket to anyone willing to give up a seat. Seaman took it and, after thinking through possible destinations, made a decision: The ticket was on Alaska Airlines, so she'd use it to go to Alaska.

"I decided to go to Kotzebue and walk across the ocean toward Russia to get a sense of what that must've felt like for my ancestors," says Seaman, who was born to a Native American (Shinnecock) father and an African American and Irish mother. 

Later that year, she flew to the small town bordering the Chukchi Sea and, in subzero temperatures, took her first step onto the Kotzebue Sound. "I started to walk out on the frozen ocean and ended up having this experience," she says. "For the first time in my life, I understood the teachings of my grandfather. I understood I was standing on my rock, that I was an earthling, that I was made of the material of this planet and that I would return to the material of this planet."

It wasn't until after 9/11 that Seaman, who had been making moccasins and traditional beadwork for galleries, chose a different medium through which to express this new awakening: photography. When the Twin Towers fell, she realized that her newborn daughter would never know them the way she had—except in an image.

"What can I do to counter this darkness," she wondered as the United States' Afghanistan bombing campaign got under way, "and to show that there is something beautiful about this life and this planet?"

Since taking her first trip to the Arctic in 2003, Seaman has created a series of astonishing photos that capture the lucid beauty of polar ice, and its vanishing reality. Her mesmerizing chronicle of melting icebergs in Svalbard, Norway; Greenland; and Antarctica led to a National Geographicaward in 2006. In 2007, she received the top monograph award by Critical Mass, and American Photo selected her as one of the top 15 emerging photographers. Her work has since appeared everywhere from National GeographicNewsweek, and Time to Outside and the New York Times.

In her running series The Last Iceberg, cathedrals of ice precariously teeter over the glaucous waters of the Arctic and the Antarctic, seemingly at once invincible in their sheer magnitude and contingent—each colossus stranded by a moat of water like the sinking totem of a bygone age. In other photos, frozen blocks cracked open like geodes reveal swirls of jade and turquoise colors, or hollow chambers stippled with ice crystals. Landscape photography becomes something more like portraiture as each iceberg emerges with its own personality. These mighty faces of the Arctic peer back at us from the picture frame, magnificent and defiant yet overwhelmed. 

Between several return journeys to the Arctic, Seaman traveled to more than 30 countries to document the impacts of climate change on other fragile ecosystems. She's also a dedicated storm-chaser and has created a photo series of epic clouds she likes to call "lovely monsters."

Seaman's daughter, Tala Powis Parker, accompanied her to Svalbard in 2003 and then went on subsequent outings to Antarctica and Greenland. Their latest expedition together took place last year, again to Antarctica. "I thought nearly every day how what I was seeing could be gone in the next year," Parker says. "My response was to be so thankful for being here. But also, me being here is part of the problem."

"I'm just there to press the shutter," Seaman says. "I understand that it's a calling. Sometimes I'm weeping as I take the picture, because I feel like this is all I can do: push this button."