Water freezes, it flows, it carves through mountains and ices over Mars. It bathes, it nourishes and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to attain in a clean, usable form. Recognizing this trend and its global implications, former students of Professor Antonio Bogaert’s Practice in Photography course have developed an exhibit that draws attention to the beauty of water in all its forms and to the element’s environmental, social, political and cultural significance.
Their project, called Aqua, is displayed on the first floor of the Allen Building. The exhibit was inspired by Charles Fishman’s book, The Big Thirst: The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water, which Bogaert’s students were required to read before developing their portfolios. The novel explores water as a resource, a marvel and the center of a global crisis.
“The water images presented by the students invite us all to become more water-conscious, and to appreciate the beauty and wonder of this precious resource,” Bogaert wrote in an e-mail. He said the greatest success of the project was the students’ increased awareness of water’s fundamental importance and of Western society’s privileged abundance of the resource. The photographs range in size and subject—some are in full color, while others are in black and white. There are images of crashing waves, refracted light, rippling effects and drainage pipes.
The exhibit, made possible by a $3500 grant given from Duke alum Benjamin Holloway and his wife Rita, has raised $450 to date, wrote Danette Clark of the Office of the Vice Provost of the Arts in an e-mail. The group hopes to raise a total of $1500 for Water.org, which supports community-driven water restoration programs in developing countries.
“Since we were working on the water theme as a personal final portfolio theme, students thought we could combine the exhibit with a fundraiser for Water.org, not only showing the aesthetic results from the water project, but also to help bring clean water to a community,” Bogaert said.
Senior Ishita Chordia, whose portfolio explored the different emotions water can portray, said she was excited that her work was serving a higher purpose. Her piece that was selected for the exhibit depicts a reflection of the sky in a puddle near her Central Campus apartment, highlighting the introspective quality that water inspires.
“You really notice different things about water, or whatever your subject is, when you have a camera in your hand,” Chordia said. “I would definitely encourage everyone to go out there with a camera.”
Aqua will be on display through December 6 on the first floor of the Allen Building. The images are available for sale through that date.