News from Benj and Sara

Deep Hanging Out at Collaborations for Cause

Posted 11 May 2012 by in Announcements, Exhibits and Presentations

I’m happy to report that Collaborations for Cause, Blue Earth’s first annual storytelling retreat for photographers, nonprofits and communications professionals, was a huge success! Over a hundred people from places like Seattle, British Columbia, South Carolina and New Mexico joined us on Whidbey Island for two days of “deep hanging out” (see Scott Macklin’s four Rs of storytelling below).

Benj and I shared six case studies from recent projects. Benj also moderated a fantastic panel on publishing, partnerships and environmental advocacy, featuring Hellen Cherullo from Mountaineers Books, Dan Ritzman from the Sierra Club and Gary Hawkey from ioColor. The group discussed To the Arctic, an inspiring new photography book by our friend Florian Schulz. Florian himself gave a powerful keynote later that evening.

There were too many other amazing speakers and topics to list in this post, but here are five bits of storytelling wisdom that I came home with:

“Engagement first, stories second… Don’t just tell stories, give them something to do.”
— Dan Green, Gates Foundation

“Vision is more than a collection of opinions. It’s what ought to be.”
— Milenko Matanovic, Pomegranate Center

“Don’t dumb it down, break it up.”
— Suzie Katz, PhotoWings

“Hope is not a strategy, but it’s core to our work.”
— Helen Cherullo, Mountaineers Books

And here are the four Rs of storytelling according to Scott Macklin, Associate Director of the Master of Communications in Digital Media program at the UW:

  • Relationship: Don’t just create stories about people. Make stories with them.
  • Relevance: Ensure your story is relevant through “deep hanging out.”
  • Rigor: Practice your craft.
  • Result: It’s not all about getting an “A” on the first draft.

Finally, Cathy Britt (@CathyABritt) from the Burke Museum put together a comprehensive summary of key points, tweets and case studies:

A big thanks to everyone who came out. Get ready for an even bigger and better retreat next year!

All photos © Tim Matsui.

5/15 Update: Blue Earth has posted additional photos from the retreat on their blog.

Climate Solutions Breakfast

Posted 10 May 2011 by in Exhibits and Presentations, Facing Climate Change

On May 10th, Climate Solutions held their annual fundraising breakfast at the Westin Hotel in downtown Seattle. This year’s speaker was Bill Gates who spoke to the 1200 attendees about the importance of investing in clean energy technologies. We were amazed by the sheer scale of the event; in an hour and a half the organization raised $488k for their invaluable work. We exhibited seven large prints from Facing Climate Change at the breakfast. The images were on display in the foyer and at the VIP reception. A big thanks to Savitha Pathi at Climate Solutions for the invitation.

Heal Our World Exhibit

Posted 28 April 2011 by in Exhibits and Presentations, Facing Climate Change

This month Blue Earth photographer Tammy Cromer-Campbell opened an exhibition at her TCC Photo | Gallery in Longview, Texas. Work from Facing Climate Change is on display along with two other Blue Earth projects: John Trotter’s No Aqua, No Vita project on the Colorado River and Tammy’s new series featuring Gulf Coast communities, Heroes of the Gulf/Dying for Profit. The exhibit titled “Heal Our World” is on view through June 18, 2011. Learn more at

Extreme Exposures at the Annenberg

Posted 27 February 2011 by in Announcements, Exhibits and Presentations, Facing Climate Change

Images from Facing Climate Change will be shown at the Annenberg Space for Photography as part of their Extreme Exposures slide show night. The event is March 3, 2011 and features “photography captured in and documented under extreme conditions and climates.”  A number of Blue Earth photographers are included. More information is available on the Annenberg website.

Forecast: Communicating Weather and Climate

Posted 21 January 2011 by in Exhibits and Presentations, Facing Climate Change

Our Sámi reindeer and wildfire work from Facing Climate Change is now on view at the Washington State Convention Center. The exhibit, Forecast: Communicating Weather and Climate was curated by Lele Barnett and presented by the American Meteorological Society and EcoArts Connections.

Thirty Washington artists are featured including our good friend Maria Coryell-Martin and Seattle photographer Chris Jordan. More details can be found on the American Meteorological Society blog.

The show opens January 24 and runs through April 5. We’ve been told that 60,000 people are expected to move through the space during the Flower and Garden Show alone!

Confluence Gallery presentation

Posted 20 September 2010 by in Exhibits and Presentations, Facing Climate Change

I just picked up our prints from the Confluence Gallery in Twisp. Last Thursday night, we presented our Facing Climate Change work as part of the gallery’s beautiful Weathering Change exhibit that has been on view since the end of July. We had seven prints in the show from our reindeer and wildfire work.

We were particularly excited to bring images from our Tinder People series back to the community from which it came. The Forest Service hand crew and independent contractors featured are all based here in the Methow. Thanks to everyone who turned out for our talk. Small town, big crowd!

Show opening at the Confluence Gallery

Posted 31 July 2010 by in Announcements, Exhibits and Presentations, Facing Climate Change

Weathering Change opens Saturday, July 31 at the Confluence Gallery in Twisp, Washington. The show explores how society and the arts adapts to an evolving, changing world. A number of images from our Sámi and wildfire climate change work are on display. These are new prints made with Tyler Boley that were in the Ansel Adams Gallery last fall. As we enter the peak of fire season, we’re particularly excited to bring our wildfire images back to the valley from which they came.

We’ll be giving a talk at the gallery on September 9, at 7 p.m. Weathering Change runs through September 18, 2010.

Exhibit at SRG Gallery

Posted 6 May 2010 by in Exhibits and Presentations, Facing Climate Change

Our show at the SRG Gallery in downtown Seattle opens today featuring seven prints from our Nordic stories. Work from local artists Sara Osebold and Vaughn Bell is also on display. The exhibit coincides with the Living Future 2010 UnConference for Deep Green Professionals to be held in Seattle May 5-7, 2010. (You can follow Worldchanging for more coverage of the conference.)

If you’re out for First Thursday, stop by between 5 and 8 p.m. and say Hi. The SRG Gallery is at 110 Union Street, on the third floor (across the street from SAM.)

The future of storytelling?

Posted 14 October 2009 by in Exhibits and Presentations, Facing Climate Change, Press

sightline dailyRecently, we were lucky enough to spend a long-weekend in the North Cascades. Tucked beneath Sourdough Ridge, lined with its first dusting of snow for the season, Benj and I were co-teaching a workshop for North Cascades Institute called Will Write for Change: Communication Tools and Techniques for Activists. The team of instructors also included Pulitzer Prize winning author William Dietrich; Sam Knox, a guru on e-mail alerts and newsletters from One/Northwest; and senior researcher and blogger extraordinaire for Sightline Institute, Eric de Place. It was humbling to be in their company and also amongst so many inspiring participants, all working to make a difference in their own ways.

The night that everyone arrived, Benj and I were invited to share our work from Facing Climate Change and the next morning we presented more generally on multimedia storytelling. After the workshop, our new friend Eric wrote a blog post about us and the medium on Sightline Daily. Here’s an excerpt from “The Future of Storytelling:”

“It’s not as if Drummond and Steele invented multimedia – in fact, high-quality multimedia is getting cheaper and easier to produce all the time – just that they seem to be mastering an art form as it matures. Most importantly, they’ve got the knack that the best storytellers have for enlivening a scene and fleshing out a character, but not beating you over the head with The Moral Of The Story.”

What an honor! Thanks, Eric.

Changing Earth exhibition at the Ansel Adams Gallery

Posted 30 September 2009 by in Exhibits and Presentations, Facing Climate Change

Changing Earth at the Ansel Adams GalleryBlue Earth has partnered with the Ansel Adams Gallery at Napa’s Mumm Winery for Changing Earth: Photographer’s Call to Action. The exhibition opened in September and will run through March 2010. Six new prints from our Sámi and fire work are on display alongside images from seven other Blue Earth photographers: Daniel Beltrá, Stephen Harrison, Annie Marie Musselman, Camille Seaman, Florian Schulz, John Trotter, and Rebecca Norris Webb. I understand five prints were sold at the opening reception!

On November 7, 2009 we’ll kick off a five-part Saturday lecture series at the Mumm Winery with an hour-long presentation of our multimedia work. The series will continue with Camille Seaman on December 5, Stephen Harrison on February 6, John Trotter on March 6, and Florian Schulz TBD.

The Mumm Napa Fine Photography Gallery is located at 8445 Silverado Trail, Rutherford, CA 94558. The visitor center and fine art photography gallery is open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily. If you’re in the Bay area on November 7 we’d love to see you!

Will Write for Change workshop

Posted 21 August 2009 by in Announcements, Exhibits and Presentations

This October, Sara and I will co-instruct a workshop on communications tools and techniques for activists. We’ll join Bill Dietrich, Eric DePlace, Karen Uffelman and Institute staff at North Cascades Environmental Learning Center on October 2-4, 2009.
From the course description:
Join North Cascades Institute this fall on the shores of Diablo Lake for a unique retreat designed to strengthen the communication skills of individuals who work and write for nonprofits. We’ve assembled a crack team of experts to lead us through exercises, presentations and group discussions covering topics such as blogging, environmental storytelling, Twitter, photojournalism, web-based presentations and some of the nitty-gritty business of activist communications, including the business of grant writing, partnerships, publicity and publication. By the end of the weekend, you and your organization will have gained new techniques and tools for communicating your group’s stories clearly, persuasively and in a way that reaches the largest audience possible.
The Institute is offering $100 off tuition, which means you can register for as low as $175 per person. Price includes two nights lodging and six meals.
» Learn more or register
Benj’s September photography workshop at the Learning Center is full.

GHG exhibit in Colorado

Posted 18 July 2009 by in Exhibits and Presentations, Facing Climate Change

The human rights and climate change exhibit we curated for the Three Degrees Conference is now on display at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. If you’re in the area, check out the work of six GHG photographers on the first floor of the NCAR Mesa Laboratory / Visitor Center. The building is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and 9 p.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends. The exhibition closes August 28, 2009.

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