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Hard Rain exhibition at Imperial

People viewing the Hard Rain exhibition

Photographs highlighting the pressing global issues of this century arrive at Imperial - <em>News</em>

Hard Rain Event

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Friday 19 February
By John-Paul Jones

An acclaimed exhibition of challenging photographs documenting environmental and social issues from around the world arrived at Imperial this week.

The exhibition’s images reflect 21st century challenges, from environmental change to human rights, with each image linked to the lyrics from the song ‘A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall’ by Bob Dylan, which inspired the project. Before reaching the Queen’s Lawn on Imperial’s South Kensington Campus the photographs were exhibited around the world, and seen by over 15 million people.

The photographer and organiser behind the exhibition is Mark Edwards, who has captured the images featured throughout his travels across four decades. They portray a range of global problems from deforestation through to the aftermath of conflict, pollution and poverty. To coincide with the event Mark will be presenting on the issues featured in the images at an event in the Great Hall on 3 March, from 17.00 until 18.00.

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Mark Edwards also explained the inspiration behind the exhibition:

What is the project’s main aim?

“To draw attention to our global problems and help find a constituency who will put huge pressure on governments around the world to address the environmental and global problems that are defining the 21st century.”

Which photograph has impacted you most personally?

“It’s difficult to say which photograph had the most impact on me. Perhaps the picture of the man carrying his sick wife to safety during the Bangladesh War in 1971 – it’s very vivid in my memory. 10 million people crossed the border from what was East Pakistan in to India to escape the horrors of a bloody war. Photos are always shadows of the past but they can be ghosts of the future: if sea levels rise by just one metre 20 million people in India and Bangladesh would be homeless. If we don’t address climate change and poverty this picture will come alive again – the past could become the future. “

Why were you keen to exhibit the project here at Imperial?

“It’s especially relevant to have Hard Rain at Imperial. I know there are many leading academics working on climate change and courses aimed at developing the technologies for a sustainable future. Members of the public see the exhibition and may feel helpless, but I hope students and researchers at Imperial will see Hard Rain as proof of the urgent need for the solutions they are working on. Hard Rain puts our global problems in a wider context and shows how they are linked by cause and effect and that we need to tackle all of them together if we are to solve any of them.”

The exhibition is currently displayed on Imperial College Road as a 60 metre long banner of photographs and images, together with commentaries. One passer-by struck by the display was Chetan Halai, a second year in the Department of Chemistry:

“I’m interested in photography in general, and these images are really striking, partly because they’re from around the world. I think at university students can sometimes get stuck into their own world, and don’t get a feeling for what’s going on beyond it. This is a really accessible way to get people thinking.”

The exhibition runs from 15 February to 12 March on South Kensington Campus

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