The song A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall was written by Bob Dylan during the Cuban Missile Crisis, as the world faced the threat of nuclear fallout. How universal its lyrics remain is rendered clearly by Hard Rain, a campaigning photographic project led by British photographer Mark Edwards to expose and address the threats of climate change. In this book, Edwards creates a photo essay, borrowing the lines of Dylan’s song as its narrative, selecting images – from his agency Still Pictures – that bear witness to the environmental and social impacts of global warming. When Dylan’s voice paints pictures such as ‘I’ve been out in front of a dozen dead oceans’, this is paired with visual proof, gathered from across the globe. The project bears the authenticity of a personal campaign, and the photographs are powerful, varied and dramatic. National parks, waterways, forests, natural habitats and their peoples are shown bearing the marks of damage. Some images are starkly literal, while others merely capture the beauty and diversity under threat in more subtle hues. The collective result is a cruel inverse of Yann Arthus-Bertrand’s popular photography project Earth From the Air, and with Hard Rain’s touring exhibition scheduled to take in the UN Headquarters in New York next year, Edwards is aiming to garner the same level of public support. These are photographic fragments that Edwards has shored against our collective ruin: the campaign affirms that a solution is still possible, as long as we – like Dylan – are prepared to open our eyes.
Hard Rain: Our Headlong Collision with Nature is published by Still Pictures Moving Words and printed by Beacon Press, priced £10 plus P&P, available from hardrainproject.com