Through the Eye of Whakatū
When you’re given the opportunity to work with young artists with a focus on climate science and its relevance to the world we live in and the whenua we live on it can be daunting to pull together images that reflect your time in that space at that moment. This is where I found myself with this project. I have been to Whakatū before and I have loved it as a visitor and tourist so filtering out that lens and trying to see with a mind to what is happening with the climate was not going to be easy. I kept seeing the postcard pretty images.
The first few shots I decided to grab were sunset shots, crisp and bright with the cleanliness that comes from golden hour light cutting through a winter chill that produces sentimental faux summer photos. Then something odd happened, farmers all over the country decided to protest the proposed ‘ute tax’ and some took issue with the focus on climate change and not enough on the plight of the agricultural sector. Tractors charged down streets, words were said, and opinions shared.
Two days later I found myself in the eye of a storm that flooded roads, soaked farmland, and cut off townships. Tides climbed and nature made its counter argument and I managed to get images that called out to the risk of living on the coast when climate change is raising sea levels and the old safety nets no longer work. The images I caught during the rains and in the calm showed the risk that we face literally living on the edge when the science tells us that change is on the way if we do not change our ways.
Raymond Sagapulutele www.raymondsagapolutele.com