Caroline Lucas by Nicola Kurtz. Pic © Nicola Kurtz
Exhibition: The Landscaped Pictured and Environmentalists, Bodelwyddan Castle, Bodelwyddan, until April 19 2009.
It’s not often that a photographer gets to portray embattled political figures standing on the edge of enemy territory, but Nicola Kurtz manages just that in Environmentalists.
Her collection of photographs from the National Portrait Gallery includes a picture of Green Party MEP Caroline Lucas taken at Aldermaston, the bomb-concocting Ministry of Defence site in Reading she considers the most dangerous spot in the country.
Satish Kumar by Nicola Kurtz. Pic © Nicola Kurtz
Lucas accused Tony Blair of giving “the green light to a new generation of immoral and illegal nuclear weapons” when the site began building a new laser facility in 2006, which she warned would threaten world and international peace.
Setting a nuclear warhead facility on land susceptible to flooding probably wasn’t the finest example of government planning either, adding to the controversy surrounding the centre of domestic atomic weaponry for more than 50 years.
David Cox Jr (1783-1859), Trefriw, near Llanrwst, with an undershot mill, watercolour over pencil. Pic courtesy Clwyd Fine Arts Trust
Kurtz is an expert at capturing such subjects, winning an Amnesty International Media Award for Photojournalism in 2005 for her Flames of Desperation work, a documentation of burning brides in Bangalore which was published in The Sunday Times Magazine. She lists her more recent projects as “the plight of albinos in Tanzania” and “saving abandoned babies in Pakistan.”
In this show, she’s also photographed former Minister for the Environment Michael Meacher highlighting the government’s attempts to improve local recycling levels at Richmond recycling centre, as well as Friends of the Earth Executive Director Charles Secrett joining local people to prevent a highway scheme bulldozing through Oxleas Wood in 1995.
Joseph Josiah Dodd (1809-1880), Caernarfon Castle, Market Day, watercolour. Pic courtesy Clwyd Fine Arts Trust
Her works are juxtaposed against a series from the Clwyd Fine Arts Trust and Bodelwyddan Castle Trust collections examining the inspirational qualities of the Welsh landscape through a host of artists, alongside audio-visual explorations of the natural world by Alison Hayes.