|That familiar Yellow Frame at The ArtScience Museum!|
Growing up in those pre-iPad days, I remembered my Mum used to ‘feed’ us with books and magazines. Ever so often, she would trot my siblings and I down to the Indian Book Seller to get us stashes of second hand books and magazines. One of the ‘books’ which never fails to draw my attention was one with a yellow frame on its cover. That book would always pique my interest with its stunning and thought-provoking photographs.
So thanks to my Mum, National Geographic has always been a big part of my life. Not only has it opened my eyes to the big wide world I live in, more importantly, it sensitized me to her people, her beauty and her perils. Later on when I could read better, I found the accompanying narratives in Nat Geo Magazines even more riveting and intriguing – they added another dimension as I read the photographers’ ideas and thoughts on how they prepped for the shoot… and how they ultimately released the shutter to immortalize the fleeting moment which otherwise gone forever as victims of time, but now forever ‘frozen’ for eternity. In a way, I attribute my love for photography to all the Nat Geo Magazines that I read from young.
|The one exhibition that I would not miss…|
|50 of the magazine’s most remembered and celebrated photographs from its 125-year history|
Currently on its South-East Asia debut at the Singapore Art Science Museum is the “50 Greatest Photographs of National Geographic” Exhibition which coincides with the magazine’s 125th Anniversary. While I was immensely thrilled, I must admit that my initial reaction was ” Only 50?” but that comment quickly gave way to ” Wow…only 50!” You see, National Geographic Photographers are an elite group of people, much akin to military personnels where their passion truly drives them to ‘get that priceless shot’. I once watched a Nat Geo documentary where one of the photographers remarked that his motto while on assignment was to “come back with photos, not excuses…’. The hallmark of these Nat Geo photographers is not only in their technical skill and tenacity but the ability to interpret and tell a story for their subjects from the most remote and far flung parts of the world in a way that is able to evoke a response (or connection) with us, the readers and spectators in our living/reading rooms and thus spreading the message to the rest of the world.
The exhibition showcases some of the most compelling imagery published by the magazine. Walking through the exhibits, you will be transported behind the lens of National Geographic’s most memorable images. From Steve McCurry’s unforgettable Afghan girl, to Nick Nichols’s iconic photograph of Jane Goodall and a chimpanzee, to Thomas Abercrombie’s never-before-seen view of Mecca, the exhibition features 50 of the magazine’s most remembered and celebrated photographs from its 125-year history.
In addition to seeing the photographs as they appeared in the magazines, the exhibition gives us room and time to read and learn the stories behind the photos, which allows us to understand more about the photographers themselves. We enjoyed the guided tour of the Top 50 Photos with Dana even though she’s only a preschooler. It’s important that we tell these stories to our children – never underestimate how powerful these photos can have on a child to ignite their sense of curiosity and develop empathy for we may open up a whole new dimension to their understanding of the world around them.
For the budding photo enthusiasts, there are also live sized exhibits explaining about the basics of photography such as aperture, shutter speed etc…Juxtaposed with quality Nat Geo photos, the exhibition gives a very authentic experience to anyone’s photographic quest.
|Our docent giving us a guided tour of the exhibition. On the wall is the photo entitled ‘Sub-Saharan Mali’ by Joanna B. Pinneo, showing a mother and her child asleep on a sun-baked afternoon on a dry lake bed.|
|Dead Sea before Sunset by Paolo Pellegrin. Girls from a West Bank Village take one last dip in the salty waters of the Dead Sea before sunset…|
|Women in Afghanistan by Linsey Addario. A woman and her pregnant daughter – ready to give birth any moment – wait quietly on the mountainside for transport to the hospital.|
|Monsoon by Steve McCurry. Women in Northern India seek shelter from the winds of a pre-monsoon dust storm.|
|Captivated by the photos at the exhibition and taking a read…|
|Australia Drought by Amy Toensing. Dust blows across the parched land – once cattle pasture – of an Australian rancher.|
|Sea Lions by David Doubilet. Swimming playfully along Australian’s southern coast where they are always on guard against the Great White Sharks.|
|Still Waters by Brian Skerry. A shark meets death (in cruxifixon posture) in Mexico’s Gulf of California.|
|Virunga Gorilla Massacre by Brent Stirton. Grieving villagers carry a 500-pound Silverback Gorilla shot dead at a National Park.|
|Kuwait Oil Fire by Steve McCurry. Camels search for untainted shrubs of water in the burning oil fields of Southern Kuwait.|
|Russian Children by Gurd Lugwig. Eight Children with terminal-limb deficiencies represent dozens with the same birth defect whose homes are clustered in a few Moscow neighbourhoods contaminated by industrial pollution.|
|Seven Pears by Sam Abell. Seven pears occupy a Moscow windowsill, catching the light of the afternoon sun. This photo is almost painting like.|
|Prob the most famous portraits the world has ever seen – Afghan Girl by Steve McCurry. Haunting eyes and a tattered garment tell the plight of a girl who fled her native Afghanistan for a refugee camp in Pakistan.|
|Jane Goodall by Michael “Nick” Nichols. Jou Jou, a full-grown Chimpanzee had been caged alone for years. He is desperate for contact with other living beings. The ‘touch’ – an exquisite moment for Jane Goodall, came when a Chimp she had never seen before reached out his hand to her.|
|An invitation to pledge how we can reconnect to the planet…|
|It’s the only 1 we have…|
|Every pledge on the ribbon counts…|
While a picture paints a thousand words, these photos evoke a myriad of emotions and thoughts. Its difficult for us, if not impossible, to identify one or a few photos as our absolute favourite. Each photo is unique in itself and they all tell their own story but we did walk away from the exhibit inspired, challenged and moved – much like how the young boy did so many years ago when he first laid eyes on the preloved magazine with that yellow frame cover.
We’re delighted to know that National Geographic has published a series of magazines and books targeted at children (and we’ve bought a few for Dana). Riding on its huge repertoire of quality photos, these books will enthral and ignite any child’s interest for the natural world around them. It’s my dream that my love for knowledge and photography will be passed onto my daughter through this medium. The exhibition runs till October 27th 2013. If you’ve not seen it, this is an exhibition not to be missed.
|The world of Nat Geo for kids!|
|Click here to vote for your fav photo!|
Stand the chance to win a pair of tickets to view 50 Greatest Photographs of National Geographic by voting for the entries in this ‘What’s Your Story’ Contest. Public voting ends l 21 October 2013. For more information, check out The Art Science Museum’s Facebook or Website.
50 Greatest Photographs of National Geographic
Adult : S$14
Senior Citizen (65 yrs & above) : S$13
Child (2-12 years) : S$8
|Date:||09 Oct 2013 – 27 Oct 2013. 10am to 7pm (Last admission at 6.00pm)|
|Venue:||ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands|