There is no denying the fact that climate change is a real event happening as you read this. Combating climate change is a monstrous task, however, some say that climate change shouldn’t be combatted. They say the Earth should be healed instead.
Fashion Photographer Andrea Belluso believes that taking action to contribute to our planet in similar ways as what has been done for decades will not create anything greater, “Einstein said that to do the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity”, which is why together with his wife and also his Global Manager and CEO of House of Belluso, decided to contribute to the Earth in a different way, with art and beauty.
You might think that selling art pieces and donating the proceeds to a charity has been done for decades, which is why Amanda and Andrea Belluso, together with Hillary Peachey are now in the process of creating the project’s own charitable Foundation, the Arts For Future Foundation, to make sure that the entire profit goes to organizations that are totally transparent.
The organization they chose to donate to from the second chapter of Arts For Future is Amigos de Calakmul, a group of biologists that do not take any salaries and that instead use the funds for different actions like tracking and protecting the jaguars and the biodiversity of the rainforest of Calakmul in Mexico as well as paying the inhabitants of the rainforest to prevent them from selling their land to corporations that would put a disastrous end to the wealth of nature in one and a half million hectares of the forest.
Arts for Future is a long-term project that was launched shortly after the COVID pandemic started. What gave the spark was watching documentaries such as A Life on our Planet and Kiss the Ground. The ignition occurred at realizing how quickly the world can recover. When the lockdown started, the world bounced back at record rates: the skies were blue in China and water was clear in Venice.
There were many different ways Andrea and Amanda Belluso could contribute. However, they both chose what was closest to their, and many of Fstoppers readers’ hearts: photography. The planet heals itself and it does not require any help doing so, as can be seen in David Attenborough’s documentary. The Bellusos created "Arts For Future" to contribute to that planet so that humanity can not only survive, but thrive on the planet.
Photographs have sparked astonishing change in the past, however, most were press photographs. Press photography showed the people what was happening, (which is reacting to what is) and because it was a photograph, the events became much more real, much more tangible (which provoked even more reactions and fight).
Arts For Future creates art that is put for sale in order to contribute to projects that actually create a big difference for the environment that require funding.
What is Arts for Future Doing?
That said, fashion photography, just like any genre, can be used as a force to
contribute to the Earth. Andrea and Amanda’s project Arts for Future is doing just that. Being a long-term project, it is divided into several chapters. Much like a book, it is telling a story, a different one for each chapter. So far, the first chapter has told the story about communion with nature. It suggests an intermutation between humans and plants, where we don’t really understand if plants turn into humans or the other way around. It was particularly interesting to see the boundary between plants and humans blurred. Is it humans morphing into plants, or is it plants becoming humans? Even Andrea and Amanda can’t tell for sure.
'Arts for Future' is a book without being a book. The story we’re telling is how we can contribute to our planet, mankind, by looking at different aspects.
The images that were produced as part of Chapter One are quite extraordinary, quite different from anything else. Chapter one, also known as “The Personification of Nature" was a collaboration with the Royal Swedish Ballet. One may ask, why ballet dancers? Why not activists or someone else? Andrea's idea and reasoning behind working with dancers stem from how they are connected with their bodies. Being at one with their bodies, nature, and hence creating beauty is something unique that Andrea is showing in Chapter 1.
The ideas sound marvelous, but how is Arts for Future contributing to the Earth? Selling prints is one way but also selling screensavers. While the collector prints cost upwards of $12,000, the screensavers are $14. With prints, 70% of the proceeds from the first sale of Chapter 1 went to The Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, while with screensavers 100% go towards the same foundation. This allows a wide range of people to make contributions to the world.
With the birth of Chapter 2, currently being created, 70% of the proceeds from the sales (in other words the whole profit), goes to Amigos de Calakmul, an association of biologists that for over 20 years have been dedicating their work to help the people living in the rainforest of Calakmul, Mexico, in not having to sell their land for money, but actually offering them four times the amount of money they are being offered to sell their land, but instead to still be able to live there without having to destroy it (or burn it as is being done in most cases today, in order to create pastures and crops). The biologists also offer the inhabitants of the rainforest the knowledge and support in restoring and preserving the biodiversity of the forest.
How Can You Contribute?
I wrote this article to inspire photographers to create better for the world, not to promote a project. Andrea’s example is a great one because it shows one way how art can be used to spark change in the world. As a photographer, you can create a project that will document, celebrate, or otherwise tie in with nature. At the end of the day, environmental activism is not shouting at a square on Fridays, it is taking action. For example, if you’re a landscape photographer you could document the changing landscapes or showing the beauty of places where nature dominates urbanism. If you are a street photographer, perhaps capturing pollution is something you may be interested in. At the end of the day, it is up to your imagination and creativity to come up with a project that helps the Earth heal.
What do you think about Arts for Future? Should art attempt to contribute to healing the Earth? Is there a project that you are thinking of? Feel free to share in the comments!