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David Ellingsen: Merging Photography and Environmentalism

Canadian photographer David Ellingsen has captured important themes in his work over the years. In his work, he primarily focuses on environmental themes such as climate, biodiversity loss, and deforestation.

One of Ellingsen`s most recent projects, Weather Patterns, is on display at the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art in California until February 14, 2021. The series includes a variety of photographs from the past several years. Many of the pieces included in the series are composite works, composed of photographs from many different days.


Some of the images in Weather Patterns capture the hazy skies that resulted from the tragic and historically destructive wildfires in Washington, Oregon, and California. A particularly striking group of photos, Wildfire, encapsulates the uniquely apocalyptic atmosphere created by these wildfires. The dense smoke and the grand harvest moon on October 1, 2020 combined to form an eerie, surreal scene. All the works in this series highlight earth`s changing climate and draw attention to the significance of this rapid change.

Weather Patterns functions as a visual diary of the ongoing tragedy that is climate change. Ellingsen continues to document earth`s dramatically changing conditions in his unique and evocative works.

Works presented in Winchester Galleries’ upcoming exhibition Promise to Place are from several of Ellingsen’s series including Silent Sea, Unknown Entities, and The Last Stand. Selected works from Silent Sea are composite works that capture our relationship to our natural origins. On the other hand, pieces from Unknown Entities shed light on the environmental problems associated with man-made plastics and how these materials have impacted life in a myriad of ways. The Last Stand, inspired by environmentalism and Ellingsen’s family’s ties to the forest industry, provides striking representations of old growth forests on Vancouver Island.

Ellingsen`s work is on display around the globe. Some of his photographs are also part of permanent collections in museums like the Chinese Museum of Photography and Canada`s Beaty Biodiversity Museum, just to name a few. As a freelance assignment photographer, he has worked with renowned organizations like the New York Times Magazine, National Geographic, People Magazine, and CBC Radio Canada.

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