Making landfall in Burma (officially known as Myanmar) on May 2, 2008, Cyclone Nargis was the second deadliest named cyclone of all time. The worst natural disaster in the recorded history of Burma, the cyclone resulted in catastrophic destruction, including 84,537 fatalities, 19,359 injuries and 53,836 still reported missing and presumed dead. With damage estimated at over $4 billion, the country is continuing to appeal for additional foreign aid to put the survivors of Cyclone Nargis back on their feet.
According to Photographer and Artist Doug Adams, Burma’s military junta severely enhanced the extent of the tragedy by initially refusing to allow foreign relief workers and restricting the distribution of aid. Declaring the actions of the military junta as a case of crimes against humanity, Adams was devastated by the horrifying images left in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis.
“My heart went out to the people of Burma and my anger grew when it quickly became obvious that the ruling military junta prevented desperately needed aid to the cyclone victims,” said Adams.
Having spent time in Burma in January of 2008 as a member of an international group of photographers working with acclaimed National Geographic photographer Steve McCurry, the tragedy became personal for Adams. And with that, Adams took on the cause by finding a reliable and efficient means of delivering aid directly to the people of the devastated Irrawaddy Delta—the “Images of Burma” Benefit Photography Exhibit for the Relief Efforts in Myanmar. Having done a similar benefit after the tsunami in Sri Lanka, Adams knew that hosting an exhibition of his work would be a reliable and efficient way to raise money for the victims.
To turn his ambition into a reality, Adams needed to find a host for the event and produce the artwork for the entire exhibition in a greatly accelerated timeframe. For that, Adams turned to Jonathan Singer of Boston, Massachusetts-based Singer Editions, a fine-art digital printmaking studio specializing in the production of limited-edition color and black-and-white prints. Not only did Singer immediately tackle the production of the prints, but he also knew the perfect person to host the fundraiser—Robert Klein.
As President of the Board of Directors of The Association of International Photography Art Dealers (AIPAD), Robert Klein is dedicated to advancing the appreciation of the art of photography. Focused on exclusively showcasing fine art photography of both established photographers of the 19th and 20th centuries as well as newer photographers, the Robert Klein Gallery in Boston was the ideal venue to host such an exhibition. Without hesitation, Klein was on board to host the event, which was just two weeks away.
Once the date was set, Singer and Adams began the production process. As a specialist in working with discriminating artists to produce high-quality fine art prints, Singer approached the project with a traditional fine art printmaking perspective. With Adams’ vision in mind, the two collaboratively worked together to proof and refine the images until both Singer and the artist were satisfied.
“Upon seeing the photographs, my immediate reaction was to recommend Museo Silver Rag from Intelicoat Technologies. The surface and the quality of the paper were very well suited for the images,” said Singer. “The artist—already familiar with the paper, from past projects—was in complete agreement.”
Singer then contacted Museo Fine Art to request complimentary paper to accommodate the tight deadline for the benefit exhibit. Optimized for pigmented inks, Museo Silver Rag brings out the best in black and white and color images, and delivers high Dmax and superior tonal range. These performance elements, combined with the finish and hand of fine art paper, met the effect that both Adams and Singer desired for the prints, bringing the final output as close as possible to fiber-based silver halide photo paper.
“Monks in Burma wear very interesting robes, making the color, contrast and texture of the images essential,” said Adams. “Museo Silver Rag was very important to the outcome because it showcased my work in the best and truest sense.”
To produce the final output, Signer printed the images onto the archival Silver Rag paper in sizes of both 16x24 inches and 20x30 inches. In total, approximately 25 prints were printed in limited edition for theexhibit, which took place from June 5th to the 8th at the Robert Klein Gallery. Adams launched the “Images of Burma” Benefit Photography Exhibit for the Relief Efforts in Myanmar with a fundraising event at the gallery in which all the money raised went to the people of Burma to provide relief for damage caused by the cyclone.
“I was exceedingly pleased with the final output of the prints and the way the paper showed,” added Adams. “Dozens of people who saw the output were also very impressed with the impact that the prints had.”
With approximately 200 visitors throughout the four-day exhibit, attendance was phenomenal, raising nearly $8,000. To circumvent the repression of aide by the local government, the funds went directly to a Japanese physician who lives in Burma. The physician used the funds for food and medical supplies that were distributed directly to the people in affected areas.
“Within a few hours of the tragedy, we found a secure, reliable and efficient means of providing much-needed aid through several Burmese friends,” summarized Adams. “My experience with the aftermath of the tsunami in Sri Lanka and subsequent photography benefit exhibits for the relief efforts in that country made me realize that this is a unique way to connect generous donors with the victims of tragedy in a more meaningful way than writing checks to large NGOs.”
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