Local Photographers

Sep 20- Oct 9, 2011

Heat: Living in a Warming Planet

Southwestern Adventist University is pleased to exhibit local photographic talent evoking the senstation of heat, especially as it relates to global warming. You do not need to be a meteorologist to be able to forecast a hot summer in Texas. So last June when I was thinking about a theme for a photography show in late September, heat seemed to be a safe bet. I promise I had no idea this summer would end up being the warmest on record in the state as well as in Oklahoma and New Mexico. In a way, I feel almost guilty for having visitors of this exhibit relive those long days of withering temperatures.

Nevertheless, I think of it as an opportunity to reflect on the implications of scientific observations pointing to global warming. True, there is a current debate on popular media about the validity of a relationship between warming weather and human activity. Whether or not that is the case, the truth is that Earth's climate has warmed slowly but steadily for the last four decades. If this trend continues, as the scientific consensus expects, we are in for a long time of adaptation to a hotter environment.

Most of the pieces in this exhibit are from Cleburne Camera Club photographers, who with little notice went to work to capture sun-dominated scenes as in Becki Gourley's Hot Texas Daybreak and creative shots like Peggy Cathey's Thirsty Shadow. The exhibit also features a selection of the club's best photographs. These are not necessarily inspired by the show's theme, but—in keeping with Southwestern's art exhibit program goals—showcase local talent.

Jerry Potter and Italo Osorio, members of the campus community, contributed heat-related photographs too. Jerry's Shades Before Night is evocative of the wearing effects of the weather. His Corn Field may serve as an allusion to the production of fuels whose combustion generates less carbon dioxide, a major climate change suspect according to man-induced global warming proponents. Italo's Bone Dry and Evaporating Life pieces remind us of the effects of hot dry weather on local flora and fauna.

With very small changes in global temperature having very tangible effects on rainfall, sea levels, ecosystems, etc., we are left with a need to find ways of coping with raging weather while at the same time attempting to ameliorate it—if that is at all possible. That is where this exhibit can serve a purpose beyond those of promoting art appreciation, contributing to the quality of life in our community and providing a setting where Southwestern can connect with art lovers.

Alfredo Vergel