Photographer explores the damage humans have done to Earth

Photographer Anya you created 2.5 seconds, A climate change awareness project she hopes will start a conversation on this issue and educate more people about the facts, urgency of the crisis, and the seriousness of its consequences.

“I’ve always cared about the environment and loved nature,” says Ante. betapixel; “But I think it’s not enough to actually take action and change my lifestyle.

“The turning point was when I first visited Iceland in 2016. I’ve been to many places before, but none of them can compare to what I felt and saw in Iceland. It made a huge impact on me and made me realize that our planet is fragile, and its beauty may disappear. .

greenhouse gases

“The idea that nature is being affected and destroyed by climate change is becoming personal, shocking and disturbing,” says the photographer. “I wanted to capture and preserve the amazing beauty of Iceland through my art while I still could.

“I also realized that it was time to give more meaning to my work in photography, use it as my unique voice to express how I feel and share my fear of the future, and create a powerful message.”

Half of the photos from the project are selfies, which Anti often does using a tripod and a remote control. But sometimes it pays to be behind the camera and have more control over the process. That was when her model came in handy, and she believes the four-member team effort was beneficial to the project.

plastic pollution

Filming was done in Iceland, but the post-processing was back in New York, so Anti had to imagine the end results while looking through or even without the viewfinder for selfies. She would draw sketches, create mood boards, do a lot of research around the site, etc. The result may vary, but the final artwork is usually very close to what you imagined when you did all of these things.

What is the title 2.5 seconds You know?

Elimination of Forests

Planet Earth is 4.5 billion years old. Humanity is about 140,000 years old. If we squeezed Earth’s existence into a full 24 hour normal day, we would be on this planet for 2.5 seconds,” Ante, Ukrainian-born artist. “I used 2.5 seconds As a title because I wanted to invoke the power of numbers and perspective to make a powerful and shocking impact.

“In 2.5 seconds, we have become the dominant species with rapidly growing populations, causing a catastrophic environmental impact. We have triggered the Industrial Revolution and burned fossil fuels, producing more carbon in the atmosphere than ever before.”

We’ve been causing global warming at a record pace, putting our very existence at risk. We cut down trees and destroy forests more than ever, polluting air, water and soil. We’ve created an island of waste, the size of Texas, in the middle of the ocean.

Three quarters of the Earth’s surface is under pressure from human activity. In just 2.5 seconds, we’ve turned the planet into our own factory.

“Our existence has taken nearly 4.5 billion years to evolve, and we have changed so much in a very short time. The problem is us. It is up to us if we want to get it to 3 seconds.”

severe weather

How did the project start

Visiting Iceland in 2016 opened her eyes and changed the way she felt about climate change. Anti began considering the project in 2017, and it took three years to materialize. Most of 2018 was spent developing concepts, trying to crowdfund the project, and finding sponsors. In 2019, she was finally able to go to Iceland for ten days with her team and film the entire project. In 2020, she sorted, edited and finalized the material.

Ante tried crowdfunding but failed and had to return all donations. In the end, she was able to find sponsors and invest some of her own savings into the project.

Two of the most challenging pictures

sea ​​level rise

“The most challenging photo to shoot was sea ​​level rise,Anti says. “I had no idea how to publish it until I got back to New York and started editing.

This time around, the photo artist couldn’t really count on the props, and the setting was out of her control. However, still prepared. At first, her model was sitting on a piece of white brick wall with an open swimming pool in the background.

“I couldn’t really set up a site and flood the area,” says the photographer. “So, my only hope was to use my editing skills and turn the white wall into a house, [with] Piece of cardboard spray-coated on the surface and use the pool as a base for the flooded area.

The last shoot was very difficult melting ice.

melting ice

She wanted to create a costume that looked like melting ice with snow crystals and water drops, while at the same time making it look like it’s not a piece of clothing but a part of an icy creature representing glaciers.

“I made the costume myself and spent a lot of time wearing it,” Ante recalls. “I used tulle that I tied together roughly on the sides, sheer sheer stockings, acrylic crystals, and teardrop beads of different sizes that I glued to the fabric and sewed directly onto the fabric.

“I wanted to create the illusion that my subject was naked and that the crystals were part of her body attached directly to the skin. That’s why I used transparent tulle.”

The photo session itself was also very difficult. I wanted to film the concept next to an actual glacier. It was freezing, and we had to shoot in the freezing rain and wind. My model was half-naked, in a body suit and an ice outfit. I had to be very fast and very efficient.”

Photographer’s favorite photo

“I love them all!” says the conceptual artist. “But if I had to choose [a favorite]I would probably choose Global Warming. It’s a self-portrait where I’m holding a molten planet. It is very personal and symbolizes the entire project.

“I commissioned someone to make it [hand painted desktop globe] For me here in the US. Then I took it with me to Iceland in my purse.”

Global Warming
Photo pre-drawn by Anya Anti

One of her assistants applied paint to her fingers on the site to create the effect of a planet melting with falling paint. While editing, I thought it needed a mountain background with more fog than the one it was captured on and replaced it with a different location in Photoshop.

gear and aftertreatment

Launched against the project in Iceland b Nikon D600 DSLR, NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4 lens and NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8 AF lens.


All shots were taken in natural light and occasionally with a silver reflector.

“I process RAW and most color correction and color grading in Lightroom,” says Anti. Then I do compositing and retouching in Photoshop. [The photos] It’s not necessarily heavy to install, but I always incorporate some level of it into my work. I’m also a perfectionist and pay a lot of attention to detail.

“That’s why I spend some time cleaning things up with the clone stamp and healing brush, perfecting shapes with bleed, and making local adjustments to color and nodes with masks. Eventually, I might apply some effects like additional color work, contrast, or textures like rain and snow.”

“On average, I spend 3-5 hours per photo.”

Anti’s beginnings as a photographer

“I’ve always been a creative person,” says the environmental photographer. “As a kid, I was good at drawing and crafts. In 2010 I discovered photography and fell in love with it. With only $400 in savings, I bought my first DSLR [while in the university in Ukraine studying metallurgy, the field for which she received her diploma.]

“Unfortunately, I did not have an artistic background, access to professional education in my country, teaching experts or tutorials, mentors, or friends of photographers. Therefore, I had to learn everything myself. I gained all my knowledge and inspiration through the mediums of Social networking and online photography communities.Through trial and error and analysis of the work of other photographers, I have learned and improved.

“When I started out in photography, I struggled to find myself for a while. Like many of us, I was experimenting with different genres. But I was sure of one thing: I wanted to photograph something different from everyone else.

“When I started photographing people, I wanted to do something beyond simple photos. I wanted to show something that couldn’t be seen, add a story, convey an atmosphere, and create a compelling image.

“So, I started experimenting, playing with different lenses and shooting techniques, using props, editing in Photoshop, and adding special effects to my photos using compositing. A year later, I started creating surreal fine art portraits, which became my genre of choice and a hallmark of my work.”

plastic pollution

her previous project, Butterflies in my stomach She was very personal and reflected her struggle with a dark period in her life. but with 2.5 seconds, She hopes to spread awareness about climate change, start a conversation about the issue, and educate more people about the facts, the urgency of the crisis, and the seriousness of its consequences.

“This 3-year experience taught me a lot,” Ante admits. “I learned what I am capable of. I learned about people and relationships; I made new connections, did a lot of research, and made many lifestyle changes to live more sustainably.

“I am a different person now. And I am very proud of the final artwork and how this project turned out. My only hope is that it will have at least a little bit of an impact or influence on how we treat the Earth.”

You can see more of Anya Anti’s work on it website, 500 pixels, And the Instagram.

About the authorPhil Mistry is a photographer and educator based in Atlanta, Georgia. One of the first digital camera lessons in New York City began at International Center for Photography in the nineties. He was the director and educator of Digital Days Workshops for Sony/Popular Photography. You can find it here.

Image credits: All Photos Anya you

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