Mixed Me­dia

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Pho­tog­ra­pher Magda Bier­nat at Photo-eye Book­store

In 2013, pho­tog­ra­pher Magda Bier­nat so­journed at the Earth’s po­lar re­gions and cap­tured sin­gu­lar images of ice­bergs and empty Iñu­piat Eskimo hunt­ing huts, among other things. A se­lec­tion of those photos bear­ing the ex­hi­bi­tion ti­tle Adrift opens at Photo-eye Book­store (376 Gar­cia St., 505-988-5152), with a 5 p.m. re­cep­tion on Fri­day, June 3.

“Av­er­age tem­per­a­tures in the Arc­tic and Antarc­tic are ris­ing twice as fast as they are else­where in the world,” ac­cord­ing to Bier­nat’s artist state­ment. The po­lar ice is melt­ing, and in some ar­eas the change is “threat­en­ing the cul­tural iden­tity of Na­tive peo­ple.” The pho­tog­ra­pher wit­nessed melt­ing ice first­hand dur­ing a year­long trip with her hus­band, which she takes ev­ery few years. This project was called North via South and was fol­lowed by the New Yorker’s photo blog with monthly slideshow dis­patches — see www.newyorker.com/cul­ture/photo-booth/north-via-south-antarc­tica. In Cen­tral Amer­ica and South Amer­ica, the cou­ple trav­eled by bus, boat, and air­plane; the trip to Antarc­tica was aided by a suc­cess­ful crowd­sourc­ing cam­paign. The North Amer­i­can seg­ment was done by car, in­clud­ing driv­ing all the way to Alaska in the mid­dle of the win­ter. “Get­ting out of your com­fort zone is al­ways dif­fi­cult, but al­ways thrilling,” Bier­nat said about that trip.

“Orig­i­nally I thought the ice­bergs and huts would ex­ist as two sep­a­rate projects, but while scan­ning the film [from her trusty Mamiya 6 cam­era] I no­ticed sim­i­lar­i­ties in shapes of the or­ganic and inor­ganic struc­tures of both and started pair­ing them.” The show con­cept em­bod­ied “the idea of things dis­ap­pear­ing, due to the global warm­ing and en­vi­ron­men­tal changes we are fac­ing to­day.”

The Photo-Eye ex­hi­bi­tion (through July 8) is staged in con­junc­tion with Cen­ter, a lo­cal non­profit ded­i­cated to fur­ther­ing the ca­reers of pho­tog­ra­phers. Bier­nat, a na­tive of Poland now liv­ing in New York City, is a mul­ti­me­dia artist work­ing in both photography and video in­stal­la­tions. Her Adrift project took first place in Cen­ter’s 2016 Direc­tor’s Choice Awards. At the end of May, she was just back from Mum­bai, where she pho­tographed the new Skid­more, Owings & Mer­rill-de­signed air­port for an up­com­ing book.

And what’s next? “It’s been three years since our last year­long trip, so I guess I have to start to plan the next one,” she said. — Paul Wei­de­man

Magda Bier­nat: Un­ti­tled pho­to­graph pair­ing from the Adrift project (both de­tails); courtesy Cen­ter

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