The Environmental Studies programme was delighted to host environmental photography James Delano from Friday, 3 March to Wednesday, 8 March 2017. While at Yale-NUS, Mr. Delano led a photography workshop, headlined a public panel, give a Rector’s Tea for the Yale-NUS community, layed the groundwork for a gallery exhibit, and consulted with students and faculty.
Based in Japan, Mr. Delano is a world-renowned photographer and author of four photobooks, including Empire: Impressions from China (2004) and Black Tsunami: Japan 2011 (2013). His documentary photography focuses on humanity’s strained relationship with the environment as well as the ecological consequences of rapid development in East Asia, now spreading to equatorial Africa and the Amazon, including violations of indigenous land and human rights. This work has been published and exhibited on five continents, and his photography has been recognized with the Alfred Eisenstadt Award (from Columbia University and Life Magazine), Leica’s Oskar Barnack, Picture of the Year International, NPPA Best of Photojournalism, PDN and many others for work in China, Japan, Afghanistan and Myanmar. Mr. Delano is also the organizer of the popular Instagram feed Everyday Climate Change, which combines breathtaking photography and succinct narratives to bring the drama and urgency of climate change to a twenty-first century medium. It curates vivid images from all seven continents and has nearly 90,000 followers.
Mr. Delano participated in a number of events while visiting Yale-NUS. On Saturday 4 March and Sunday 5 March he led a workshop on environmental documentary photography for Yale-NUS students. On Monday 6 March he gave short lecture in a public panel on the subject, “Art and Climate Change: Representation, Connection, Intervention,” which addressed the role that visual art – in galleries, public spaces, and digital venues – can play in intervening in ‘business as usual’ and aiding the ongoing struggle to mitigate and adapt to this slow-motion crisis. Mr. Delano was joined on that panel by Ong Kian Peng, a Singaporean mixed media artist who was awarded the 2015 President’s Young Talents Award (discussing his recent installation at the Singapore Art Museum, “Too Near, Too Far”) and Matthew Schneider-Mayerson, Assistant Professor in Environmental Studies (drawing lessons from his public climate art campaign, “Fossilized in Houston”). Tom Iain White, instructor of photography and visual communication at Yale-NUS, moderated the event.
On Tuesday 7 March, Mr Delano met with students and spoke at a Rector’s Tea in Saga College, where he showed images from his photographic series on the Mexico-US border and discussed art, environmental photography, climate change, and how to utilize social media for environmental campaigns. While in Singapore Mr. Delano arranged an exhibition of work from Everyday Climate Change at the Objectifs Centre for Photography and Film (155 Middle Road), which ran from 16 March to 30 April as part of its 2017 “Stories That Matter” theme. Mr Delano’s visit is graciously co-hosted by the Arts and Humanities programme and student groups I’dECO and the YNC Photography Club.