British Vogue features a piercing cover of a littered beach in the Dominican Republic captured by environmentalist Carmen Danae, sparking debate and awakening consciousness.
For their August 2020 issue, British Vogue, known for their striking magazine covers and visual content, featured 14 renowned photographers and artists capturing landscapes for their “Reset” theme during the pandemic. Instead of a traditional cover, artists submitted images of natural landscapes that meant something to them and reflected the reality of our world in 2020. Amongst the featured covers are paintings by David Hockney and Turner Prize winner Lubaina Himid.
For multidisciplinary artist Carmen Danae, Vogue’s #Reset challenge presented an opportunity to highlight the beauty of her mother’s home country, the Dominican Republic, where she spent the last two years cleaning beaches_ and sharing her concern of plastic pollution. Danae submitted five images, four showing the pristine natural beauty of the Los Haitises National Park – a tourist destination with emerald lagoons, unusual rock formations, and lush mangroves; and a striking fifth image shot only a few hundred meters away highlighting the shocking fragility of the world’s most spectacular landscapes, a golden sand beach covered in various types of plastic debris and all sorts of litter.
Danae’s critically acclaimed fifth image serves as a wake up call to our consciousness and awareness about these majestic ecosystems and the threats they face.
“These ecosystems have been around for millions of years – now we’re going to lose them in a few decades if no changes are made… This is not the Dominican Republic’s issue. This is a human issue… And it’s our shared responsibility to fix it. I hope that seeing these photographs is a call to action.”
Pollution, biodiversity loss and extinction are issues we need to address and prioritise. Vogue editor-in-chief Edward Enninful, who invited the artists to participate in the #Reset challenge reflected on his decision to include Danae’s work in the final 10: “I also felt it was important to include an image that serves as a warning to all of us: that of a beach, littered with plastic.”
The final selection, compiled in a 20-page story, “All Across The Land”, resonated deeply with the creatives behind them. The images have spread like wildfire across social media, perhaps illustrating a need to reconnect with some of the more basic elements of our human existence in these highly uncertain times. This bold move by Vogue, makes a strong statement as fashion ironically remains one of the most unsustainable industries in the world. We can only hope that the tides are changing at pace.