Our Planet 2023

Nature, Landscape and Conservation

Erik Scherb – From The Edge

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Juror: Quentin Nardi

Chief Photo Editor, Smithsonian Magazine

As creatives, we are often compelled to document the beauty and sadness of the world around us. To capture photos of our environment is something to which, I feel, photographers are naturally drawn. Whether it is to show the heartbreak or the wonder—environmental portraiture is all around us and has the power to impact us all greatly.

And as visual people, we do what we do best: create images of our environment in the hopes that the work we do–will not only challenge but better yet–change the status quo; and to create a new way of looking at things, as well.

As I viewed the 56 submissions, I was acutely aware of how urgently the images were calling out to be seen, to bear witness to the environmental splendor and the degradation that they are documenting. I was also thinking about how, as creatives, we must flip the narrative occasionally, changing our approach. To get people to see the environment in a different light, in a different way…in a smart way that feels cohesive and well-thought out…to make the viewer pause as if they were seeing the subject matter in whole new light…in a whole new way—for the first time.

This is why I look for and am drawn to images that are technically superior. The artist knows his or her craft and its shows by adept use of exposure, light, shadow, and color– to not only produce a compelling image but one that the viewer wishes to linger over, not to miss a moment of beauty before them.

And even more than this, I look for an innate sense of voice, of aesthetic coherence…of something that is unique and surprising. For me, that I what I found in my 40 selects. Something that made me pause…that made me want to linger. Something that made me say to myself…this space, this place is something worth protecting, worth holding in the highest regard, worth sharing with the world. And to me, this is the reaction that helps change the tide and creates real change.

It my honor to view all the submissions. This was a wonderful challenge and there was so much excellent work, it was not easy to make my final selections. But it was a great task and I enjoyed viewing all the submissions very much. Thank you so very much for having me!

Website – smithsonianmag.com

Our Planet 2023 – Nature, Landscape and Conservation
with Quentin Nardi
Chief Photo Editor, Smithsonian Magazine

Exhibition Dates: July 17 – August 19, 2023
Featured Artists

Amanda Summerlin
Annabel McGannon
Beate Sass
Benjamin Dimmitt
Chris Anderson
Christian Wayne
Clay Fisher
Corinne Adams
Dennis Segers
Diane Hemingway
Donna Tramontozzi
Dwain A Vaughns II
Frank Fuerst
Hopeton St.Clair Hibbert Jr.
Isabel Chenoweth

Jennifer McKinnon Richman
Jim Turner
John Garcia
Ken Guthrie
Marla Puziss
Myrtie Cope
Nick Prince
Patrick Krohn
Paul Trively
Sam Unger
Steven David Walton
Susan K. Friedland
Susan Pelteson
Traci Dickson
Zac Henderson