Don’t just look at Jim McAuley’s photos. DO SOMETHING FOR THEM!!!
Stepping out of the pickup,
that familiar salty smell fills your nose,
your lungs chilled
by the damp and dewy sunrise air.
The cold quiet interrupted by
the steady rhythm of the waves.
Your pulse slows, your muscles let go.
You’re at peace.
Jim McAuley’s landscape photographs have the power to transport you to a tranquil place, those that meditation guides speak about. Whether it’s a rocky ocean, grassy field, or mossy forest in northern California. Especially for city-dwellers, it’s a stress remedy for the retina, a return to a simpler state and a reminder of nature’s beauty.
However, when humans enter the frame, the mood shifts. Conflict infiltrates the pixels, simmering in the imagery. This is not only a story about “man vs. nature,” but also about “man vs. man,” because these people share a common foe with nature: greedy more-is-more-minded culture. McAuley focuses on indigenous people who live off the earth, taking what they need and knowing when enough is enough. Today, since their foods like seaweed are hot commodities, their lands have been exploited. Put this together with disrupted ecosystems caused by Global Warming, they are left with little to nothing.
It is this context that further charges up McAuley’s photographs. It’s not art for art’s sake, but a call to action. To just look at them would be missing the point. Do something: reduce your plastic waste, compost, stop buying big-business seaweed, etc. Because if nothing is done, one day that landscape that put you at peace won’t be there any longer.