By the Image Report Co-Founder Sofia Bergmann
the Image Report co-founder Sofia Bergmann traveled through Argentina between January and March photographing different projects – one question that stood out to her while visiting both remote and crowded places was: should these places even be visited or just left in peace? The Human Saturation collages question our role as human beings who have the power and desire to travel and therefore enter and disrupt different biospheres which ultimately leads to a form of exploitation we deem necessary for our existence, whether for harmless leisure or ruthless extraction and consumption.
The fourth tIR Spotlight takes a turn to multimedia photography and how digital collages can speak on larger themes. The collages have been shown in exhibitions in Berlin and online, now making their way to tIR Spotlight to offer a new approach to photographic methods. Sofia Bergmann being both a journalist and photographer, these collages incorporate informative aspects through a journalistic lens and play with photography to create otherworldly yet plausible scenarios. Made as an exception to her usual work, they contemplate her experiences and senses of guilt as both a consumer and someone who uses travel for her own creative work.
Just a reflection.
Why do we visit places when we are complicit in their destruction?
In traveling and photographing throughout Argentina, I was confronted with humans’ ability to unapologetically saturate our surroundings. This permission we give ourselves to enter ecosystems whether they be in nature or communities, created the basis for this series which shows a progression of cavalier human invasion and exploitation for leisure and consumption.
Playing with my photos from indigenous communities facing increased tourism in northern Argentina, melting glaciers and endangered species in Patagonia, combined alongside an ever-present saturation of humans, my collages are self-critical surrealistic representations of our unhinged role in the world and the irony of tourism.
Just a game.
Just a Holiday.
Just a cruise.
Collages include: The Perito Moreno Glacier, one of the world’s most important sources of water which has recently started to recede due to climate change. It is also catered to massive crowds of tourists who fly from around the world just to see its size and beauty as it slowly melts.
Penguins and sea lions on Isla Martillo in Patagonia, where tour boats pass regularly. The King Penguin seen looking upwards is one of only two on the island — they have failed to successfully hatch an egg because of rising temperatures.
Jujuy and Salta, Argentina. Desert mountains and indigenous towns in northern Argentina are seeing an increase in tourism. The turquoise pools in the Las Salinas Grandes salt mines are one of the biggest attractions, even though mining has contaminated and depleted groundwater for local farmers.
Crowded beaches near Mar del Plata — one of the most popular vacation areas in Argentina about 400 km south of the capital, Buenos Aires.
Human Saturation invites reflection on the ethical implications of traveling and its consequences on different ecosystems and communities. The collision of natural beauty, human invasion and exploitation highlights the discrepancy between our wish to explore and its consequential damages which we knowingly or unknowingly cause.