Sue Flood’s Kimball Art Center exhibit takes viewers to ‘Cold Places’ | ParkRecord.com

Sue Flood’s Kimball Art Center exhibit takes viewers to ‘Cold Places’

Photographer Sue Flood has made it possible for visitors and locals to visit the North and South poles without leaving Park City with her new exhibit, "Cold Places: Photographs by Sue Flood."

The exhibit, which is on display until April 7, is divided into two. On one wall are images Flood took on her many trips to the Arctic, and one the facing wall are mounted images from her trip to the Antarctic.

Flood, A Royal Geographical Society fellow and Royal Photographical Society silver medalist,said she is excited for the Kimball Art Center exhibit.

"Having the exhibition is a thrill, because it's lovely to have people interested in your work," Flood said.

In addition to her exhibit, Flood will visit the Kimball Art Center to give a free art talk at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 24, and critique local photographers' workt from 10 a.m. to noon on Monday. Feb. 25. (See information in the accompanying box).

During her art talk, Flood will talk about her 50 excursions to the polar regions, she said in a phone interview from Las Vegas, where it recently snowed.

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"I've been working in the polar regions for about 20 years, and I find them quite fascinating because they are very different," Flood said.

The wildlife is the biggest difference.

"In the Arctic, you have predators, i.e. the polar bear, whereas in the Antarctic you don't," she said. "Hence, you have millions of penguins."

Flood also enjoys the remoteness of these areas.

"I spent six weeks camping on the sea ice in Weddell Sea (at the Antarctic peninsula) a couple of years ago," she said. "I was in a little unheated tent, and our nearest neighbor was 450 miles away. It was an adventure with the spectacular wildlife and scenery. It just takes your breath away."

Flood also is aware of the dangers of visiting these harsh environments.

"The challenge is the weather because the cold can be dangerous," she said. "Last March I was in Siberia and spent six hours on an open sled with the Nenets reindeer herders. It got down to -48 centigrade, and I had to be on the ball because at those temperatures you can get frostbite very quickly."

While on these excursions, Flood looks for interesting scenes that she feels will engage her viewers.

"It's all about what feels right," she said with a chuckle. "I know that's kind of an esoteric answer, but it's what it feels like when I'm behind the lens. My only hope is to look at what's in front of me and try to capture that moment."

The major reason Flood wants to engage viewers is to educate them about the natural world.

"As a photographer I think I had a duty to do that," she said, before paraphrasing a quote by David Attenborough."You have to show people how beautiful something is for them to want to save it. I just try to interest people in the natural world with still and moving images."

Flood's fascination with the polar regions and their animals started while she was a wildlife filmmaker with the BBC.

She worked on Discovery's "The Blue Planet" and "Planet Earth" series, before venturing off on her own as a nature photographer.

"I've been fortunate to embark on a number of trips to these places and to have the opportunity to talk about photography and wildlife with various companies," she said.

In addition to her lectures, art books and exhibits, Flood educates her followers through group and private trips to the North and South poles.

Sometimes the groups can include up to 120 tourists, she said.

"When we did BBC filming documentaries, you may be in the middle of nowhere with two or three people to capture what you're trying to film and you're not interacting with anybody apart from the film crew," she said. "Whereas it's really lovely to go and speak to people who are interested in the natural world who may have seen these documentaries. We talk with them about how the films were made and how to take photographs."

Photographs and videos are important mediums to raise awareness about conservation, according to Flood.

"I think it's very important that we don't just take pretty photos, but use them, particularly now, when we are facing problems like climate change," she said. "It's a controversial topic, but I don't think it should be, because when you see images from 100 years ago taken by some of the early polar explorers, you see the differences of the (decline of) snow and ice in the regions."

Flood recently was contacted by Biome Bioplastics, an organization that is working to create a plant-based, biodegradable alternative to oil-based plastics, she said.

"I think we're all becoming aware at the huge environmental challenge plastic pollution has," she said. "So when I see plastic pollution when I'm abroad, I can photograph that, and we can use the images as a discussion starting point."

Flood's photographs are also being used by the Antarctic Southern Ocean Coalition to help create a marine protected area in the Weddell Sea.

"If giving the green light, this would be the largest nature reserve in the world," she said. "It's rewarding when your images are being used for purposes that will help conservation in some ways."

Although using her photos to raise awareness about the environment is a perk of her career, Flood said nothing compares to speaking with school groups.

"I love it when the kids come up and tell me they want to become marine biologists because they have seen a documentary and heard a talk," she said. "You can see the enthusiasm there."

Kimball Art Center curator Nancy Stoaks, who put the exhibit together, said Flood's photographs will appeal to Park City residents and visitors because of the winter scenes.

"There is something familiar and something otherworldly about these landscapes," Stoaks said. "Not only is Sue's work beautiful and captivating and takes you to places you might never have had the chance to visit, they give you an opportunity to reflect on (the environment). Her work shows you how beautiful these places are and gives you a connection to them."

In addition to Flood's exhibit, Paul Crow's "On Ice" exhibit, showing at the Kimball Art Center's Cafe Gallery, ties into the wintery theme," Stoaks said.

"Paul is a is a local photographer who lives in Ogden and is a professor of photography at Weber State University," she said. "His exhibit is more conceptual and it's about the decline of ice on our planet."

What: “Cold Places: Photographs by Sue Flood”

When: Through April 7

Where: Kimball Art Center, 1401 Kearns Blvd.

Cost: Free

Phone: 435-649-8882

Web: kimballartcenter.org

‘Cold Places’ events

• Art Talk with Photographer Sue Flood

Sue Flood, known for her photographs of the Arctic and Antarctica, will give a free art talk at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 24, at the Kimball Art Center, 1401 Kearns Blvd. Flood will discuss her photographs and her career. Her current exhibit, “Cold Places: Photographs by Sue Flood,” is currently on display at the Kimball Art Center through April 7.

Photography Critique with Sue Flood

Sue Flood, whose exhibit “Cold Places” is showing through April 7 at the Kimball Art Center, will hold a photography critique session from 10 a.m. to noon on Monday, Feb. 15, at the art center, 1401 Kearns Blvd. The cost for a critique is $20. Anyone who wants to attend without getting a critique are free.

• Climate change panel discussion

The public is invited to a free climate change panel discussion will start at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 13. The panelists will be Brian McInerney of National Weather Service Forecast Office; Andrea Brunelle, chair of the geography department at the University of Utah; Hilary Arens, the sustainability director at Snowbird Resort and Celia Peterson, Park City’s environmental sustainability project manager. The panel will be moderated by Lara Jones and Billy Palmer, hosts of RadioACTive on KRCL.

• Kimball Art Center exhibitions book club

The Kimball Art Center exhibitions book club will meet at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 28. The public is invited to discuss Barry Lopez’s award-winning book “Arctic Dreams,” which is about his experience in the Arctic.

All events will be held at the Kimball Art Center. For information, visit kimballartcenter.org.