If you take three atoms, two hydrogen and one oxygen, and combine them, you get water. If you add a helicopter, a Hasselbad and Roger Fishman to this mix you get “Transformation: Water as Art” – one of the more striking exhibitions at this years Photoville NYC.
“Transformation: Water as Art” explores water as a symbol of our innate ability to transform our lives—and the world we live in—for the better.
Shot in Greenland and Iceland, the series shows architectural icebergs, abstract water and melting ice sheet compositions and calligraphic glaciers. This extraordinary perspective of looking straight down onto planet Earth eliminates any familiar visual context. It requires you to fully engage your imagination. The images are emotionally evocative and generate intrigue and engagement with the subject matter.
The images transport the viewer to—and perhaps transform them by—the world of water in all of its astonishing power.
PDN asked Roger Fishman a few questions about his exhibition.
PDN: What drew you to photograph water in the first place?
RF: For me water is the source of all life energy. We are created and essentially live in water for the first ten months of our lives. Our brain and heart are 70+ percent water. Our bodies 60+ percent water. Our planet is covered in about 70 percent water. Water and life are one. Yet our species treats water as a limitless commodity. So I wanted to elevate water, have us think about it differently. I wanted us to consider how we can transform ourselves and our behavior for the betterment of all life, and that of the planet.
Water simply fascinates me too. Its importance is biblical! The history of all cultures from the beginning of recorded time involve water. It is transformational in terms of its impact. It creates, sustains sculpts, and reveals… We live in water inside our mother and our society is born out of water based on its accessibility and availability. There is water where most commerce done in the world and almost all foods and products are created with it. So for me water must be prioritized.
PDN: The project is making a statement about water as art but with water being such a crucial global talking point right now, do you think that your images can also add to that discussion? Can art function in this way and if so – what are you saying?
RF: Water needs to be more then a global talking point. As fresh water is the source of all life, water must be elevated to a strategic, core and on-going topic of vital global and national interest. The underlying point of this project is to transform our own lives as water transforms in its’ own creation and into different forms. My work is intended to have us understand and think about water differently…be educated about it power and importance throughout our lives and to have individuals change how they engage with water. Government policies need to treat water with the respect it demands and deserves.
PDN: These images are part of a four-part collection. Can you explain a little more?
RF: There are four forms of water that this series explores: Liquid, iceberg, ice sheet and glacier. And each form goes through its all transformational processes.
PDN: Can you tell us a little more about your process?
RF: I travel with just a pilot in Greenland. In Iceland I work with both a pilot and my colleague, Melissa Shoemaker. We fly with the door off. I prefer to shoot straight down so the visual context is abstract and requires one to feel and wonder about what they are experiencing. I shoot with a Hasselblad H6D. And the best trick I have is to make sure you are really strapped in and don’t fall out when the helicopter – at your request – turns deeply and sharply!
PDN: What’s next for you?
RF: More water… in its presence and absence! I will continue to expand this series in new geographies. Why the same? Because water is always moving…sculpting and revealing…so what I see in one moment becomes a memory…for that moment is constantly being transformed by its subject matter…water
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