Long Beach Aquarium to Display National Geographic Photography Exhibit Amidst Drought


Photos courtesy of the Aquarium of the Pacific. John Stanmeyer, VII India, 2009: India’s holiest river, the Ganges, is scribbled with light from floating oil lamps during the Ganga Dussehra festival in Haridwar. Hindus near death often bathe in the river; some are later cremated beside it and have their ashes scattered in its depths.

Opening on Wednesday, October 7 at the Aquarium of the Pacific, Water: Our Thirsty World will feature images captured by photographers for National Geographic magazine. The exhibition, organized by the Annenberg Foundation in Los Angeles in partnership with National Geographic, will feature photographs that explore water scarcity and our relationship with water in different regions of the globe, and will be on view until February 15, 2016.

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A live webcast hosted by the aquarium on Wednesday, October 7 at 10:00AM will accompany the exhibit, where experts will discuss current local and global water issues. The public can tune in live on the aquarium’s website and ask questions via email and Twitter using the hashtag #aopwater.

“At the Aquarium, we want to familiarize our visitors with global environmental issues and inspire them to think about their own reliance on natural resources like freshwater,” said Aquarium President and CEO Dr. Jerry Schubel in a statement. “The remarkable photographs in this exhibition give visitors a new entry point into the issue of water scarcity and may cause them to think differently about our relationship with nature.”

According to the release, the images are sourced from a selection of National Geographic photographers and examine the local and global challenges of our planet’s dwindling freshwater resources, grouped into six major themes: “Sacred Waters” examines humankind’s inspirational relationship with water and celebrating how precious this resource is to all life on the planet; “The Big Melt,” looks at the environmental challenges of Tibet’s freshwater resource.


Paolo Pellegrin, Magnum Photos Israel, 2009: Girls from a West Bank village cool off in the briny waters of the Dead Sea, the world’s deepest saltwater lake. Naturally buoyant waters make it a favorite of bathers. Yet levels are dropping more than three feet a year.

“Parting the Waters,” shows how countries are working together to adapt to the drastic reduction in water levels in the Jordan River basin; “The Burden of Thirst,” presents issues facing African women and children who are responsible for delivering the freshwater needs for their families; “California’s Pipe Dream,” surveys California’s vast water infrastructure, thirsty crops, rampant development, and threats to the fragile Sacramento Delta; and “Silent Streams,” looks at the challenges facing freshwater species and how scientists hope to save them.

“We were thrilled to partner with National Geographic and their renowned photographers to shine a light on the subject of freshwater—the essence of life itself,” said Patricia Lanza, director of Talent & Content for the Annenberg Space for Photography, in a statement. “Water demonstrates the power of photography to educate and inspire people to preserve the world around us, and we’re pleased to share it with the Aquarium’s visitors.”

Water: Our Thirsty World is the second exhibition of photographs from the Annenberg Space for Photography to be displayed at the aquarium. Sink or Swim: Designing for a Sea Change, an exhibition of photographs documenting human responses to sea level rise, was on display in the Aquarium’s Great Hall from June 1 to September 15.

Water was on view at the Annenberg Space for Photography in 2010 and was based on National Geographic’s April 2010 issue on freshwater.

In addition to the exhibition, the aquarium will feature a lecture series with experts that will examine water scarcity in California and around the world. The first will be held on Wednesday, October 7 with Kevin Wattier, former general manager of the Long Beach Water Department.

For more information regarding the Water, the accompanying lecture series and live webcast, click here.

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