Event Photography: King Canute
On Saturday I was invited to photograph a secret event in Brighton for 350.org. This was part of the 350 EARTH planetary art show. It was an interesting shoot involving around 2000 people (not sure how secret it was given 2000 people showed up!?), who became part of a human sculpture of King Canute on Brighton's seafront, trying but failing to command the ocean. The image was designed by Radiohead’s Thom Yorke who generously donated his time, energy and art to make the event a success. Sadly he didn’t show up to the actually ‘making of‘. I can’t say as I blame him really, it was FREEZING!!!
The public art display was designed to send a climate warning to political leaders in the run-up to the UN Climate Talks in Cancun. According to legend, King Canute was foolhardy enough to think we could control nature, much as our political leaders think that they can ignore rising seas and the other impacts of climate change. We know that’s impossible. Climate change is a reality that must be dealt with. It’s a challenge we can all rise too, together, with creativity, art, and energy.
The event was one of over a dozen similar displays taking place as part of 350 EARTH, the first planetary art show for the climate. The image of King Canute was joined by a giant sun in South Africa; a polar bear on an Icelandic glacier; a scarab in the Egyptian desert; an eagle in Los Angeles; and many more. Hi-res photos and videos of the events are available on the earth.350.org website.
What I enjoyed about this event was the fact the people all bonded in a way people do when they all suffer the same adversity and they do something thats bigger than themselves. It started slow to then suddenly lots of people joining in from all over and kept in good spirits even though the wind chill was harsh. The people amassed in a sea of blue cagoules and were ushered into place by stewards. Later we had some groups in yellow cagoules who formed the 350 part of the picture.
From ground level it was really hard to get a sense of scale and overall idea of the design, but flying overhead we had a plane taking aerial shots, someone else was filming time lapse material and several other cameras placed in prime locations.
Well done to everyone involved and not to forget of course the lady who orchestrated the whole event on the day Jo Hedges, who deserves a massive - 2000 thank-yous!!!!