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The Surreal Stormchasing series reveals the naked truth. That climate change doesn’t care about you
A visionary photographer chased real storms to highlight the indifference of climate change to our daily habits, creating the Surreal Stormchasing series.
Photographer Benjamin Von Wong chased billowing black clouds bursting with electricity to highlight the tormented state of the world in the throes of climate change. He and storm photographer Kelly DeLay shot tempests in seven states of the Great Plains region of the western United States, creating provocative images that symbolise how climate change doesn’t care about the whims of our daily lives. In the foreground mundane scenes such as sitting on the toilet and ironing, in the background mighty storms ready to engulf everything in their sight: this is the Surreal Stormchasing Portraits series.
Von Wong recounts how himself and DeLay would give only a day’s notice to friends and fans, who acted as the crew and models for the shoots, to gather in a certain area and prepare themselves to chase storms that moved up to almost 50 kilometres an hour. Using an ambulance offered by a fan, props sourced from the classified advertisements website Craigslist as well as rubbish bins on the side of the road, the troupe had only ten to fifteen minutes to set up and take each shot.
Photographer Von Wong has a background in engineering that, married to his passion for photography, is expressed in his use of special effects to create hyper-realistic images. Yet, even given his years of experience, he describes the process of creating the Surreal Stormchasing Portraits as unique. “Putting together this photoshoot was unlike anything I had ever done before. Not only had I never chased a storm in my life, I had also never planned a project around an uncontrollable force of nature.”
The aim of the series is to shock viewers with the stark contrast between the indomitability of nature and the futility of our lifestyles, which are not only threatened by the altering of the world’s ecological balance but are its very cause. Von Wong’s images incite us to find out more about what we can do to fight climate change by visiting Cowspiracy’s website. The documenatry tackles the effects of animal agriculture on the environment, including the release of greenhouse gases, depletion of water sources and soil, and creation of waste. Ultimately, according to its creators Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn, the most ecologically conscious path for us all is to cut animal products out of ours diets and lifestyles.
It is almost impossible to look at the plethora of different crises that affect our world today without feeling overwhelmingly depressed and powerless. Regardless of how powerless I may feel, I want to put myself out there and try my best to make a positive difference in the world with the imagery I create. (Benjamin Von Wong)
The Surreal Stormchasing Potraits series is a visual call to action for us to put down the videogame controller, barbecue tongs and get off the deck chair to wake up to the reality of global warming. It’s time to change our habits or we face a perfect storm of planetary proportions.
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