Monday, October 23, 2006

Hmmm ....

A truly astonishing, symbolic photograph, The Hurricane Tree, one of the winning entries from the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition now on at the Natural History Museum here in London. Taken from the air shortly after a hurricane hit part of Sweden in 2005, in the photographer's words:

"It's as if the heavens had sent a message to the forest industry, reminding them that, in this area, deciduous trees would have withstood the winds much better than pine. ....."

I'd love to see this exhibition but I'm in a quandry.

From a glance at the website, some of the entries are extraordinary and my entrance fee would doubtless support the valuable work done by the museum.

But quite rightly so in my book, there have been protests over the choice of Shell as the exhibition's sponsor because of its environmental record. Will my attendance be taken as an unspoken endorsement of the company's policies?

Or am I just being hopelessly precious about the whole thing? Possibly.

But it's about living comfortably with a small decision.


Blogger Stray said...

Wow. Stunning - truly amazing. Thanks for the image and the news of the exhibition ... and of course I am now struggling with the same dilemma, which may not even have occurred to me had you not pointed it out!

I'm going to put the rest of my reply in a post on my blog, linked to yours, because it got so long!

Thanks though Mary, really important questions ...


11:55 am  
Blogger Endment said...

The photo is amazing and I am glad you have shared it with us...

You have raised a valid question - but another question comes to my mind.

Perhaps this is one of the ways Shell is trying to improve their record...

How can we know the answers?

12:44 pm  
Blogger Pauline said...

It is to your credit that this sort of thing poses a dilemma. Some might view your attendance as an endorsement, others will think you are there for the art, still others won't care at all. It is what YOU think that matters. Will missing an exhibition make you as uncomfortable as supporting an organization whose practices you disagree with?

11:08 pm  
Blogger herhimnbryn said...

A great post M and an awesome image.
"At the centre of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want." Lao Tzu.

11:11 pm  
Blogger Sky said...

hmmmmm, life is just plain hard sometimes! if you call the museum and discuss this with someone in administration they may be able to present you with information about the partnership, intention, etc. in any event, the protests have raised the conscious awareness of the issues for all concerened - patrons, shell, the community, and the museum. that opportunity for learning is invaluable.

2:08 am  
Blogger Mary said...

Thanks everyone.

Stray: I commented over at your place. So glad you developed the theme.

Endment: Indeed, that's the conundrum. We don't know .. making a judgment call isn't easy.

Pauline: I'm surprised at how much internal discomfort I've had about this. You're right, it's what I feel that counts.

HHB: Oh Ilove that quote. I didn't know it. Thank you.

Sky: It's helpful to read your focus on the learning process here ... a way for positives to come out of the whole situation. As always, thank you!

9:55 am  
Anonymous Jessie said...

Interesting topic, Mary. If it were me, I would probably consider:

--who profits from my entrance fee, the museum or Shell?
--if Shell is only doing this to polish their image, am I falling for it?
--can I better impact Shell by reducing my use of their products than by not attending the exhibit?

I enjoyed reading Stray's post on this subject too, and the FoE site has done a good job of using Shell's sponsorship to point out what they are really doing to the environment. And you've done your part by calling attention to it--good job!

2:53 pm  
Blogger MB said...

One has to find what one is comfortable with, that place of sitting comfortably — and even that isn't always possible because life is too complex sometimes, fraught with trade-offs. Thanks for linking to that extraordinary photo.

4:55 pm  
Blogger Mary said...

Jessie: Thanks for your common sense comment! I'm pretty sure that the sponsor is the one who coughs up the money, not receives it. But it is worth checking.

MB: Really glad you liked the photo .... and, yup, those trade-offs.

5:09 pm  
Blogger starnitesky said...

What an amazing photograph! I think I would also question whether to pay the entrance fee due to Shell being the sponsor. We really need to take the environment seriously - 'one small step' ..........

11:06 pm  

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