Yi Sun (b.1982) is a Chinese photographer and conservationist whose work discusses the global climate crisis and focuses primarily on areas of the world most adversely affected by extreme weather events and global warming. His work references humanity’s over-use of the planet’s natural resources, and exposes environmental damage caused by some of today’s highest CO2 emitting western economies.
Sun’s abstract colour photographs are all captured from the air by helicopter or small high-wing plane, which gives him the freedom to create works which are both beautiful and deeply unsettling, often juxtaposing earth’s healing scars in close proximity to the vulnerable beauty of the landscape we now know is being lost.
Photographs such as Bleeding Tears Study 3, Perth, Western Australia 2017 bring into sharp focus the exact boundary line on the earth’s surface where man-made environmental damage has breached the beauty of the natural landscape. This exhibition exposes the hidden damage from high above planet earth on a scale seldom seen before, so that the viewer. This exhibition exposes the hidden damage from high above planet earth on a scale seldom seen before, so that the viewer is not immediately sure what they are looking at.
This image is taken 4500 ft. over a tailing pond in Western Australia. Tailing ponds are the byproducts left over from mining and extracting resources from the oilsands or minerals. Some of these can be as big as hundreds of square kilometers. They contain toxic substances and heavy metals such as lead, copper and mercury, and have huge environmental impacts on the surrounding air, land, water, vegetation and wildlife. Breaches of these structures have already created some of the greatest environmental catastrophes.
2018 Earth Photo 2018, images permanently collected by the Royal Geographical Society and exhibited in the RGS headquarter in Kensington, London
2017 ND Awards (Neutral Density Photography Awards), winning ND Nature Photographer of the Year
2017 11th Annual PX3 Awards, first and second prize in Nature category
2017 International Landscape Photographer of the Year, included in the Top 101 photograph
Sun’s manipulation of scale produces arresting compositions with elements in the landscape deliberately made to look vulnerable, a balance he hopes will shock but ultimately inspire viewers to re-engage with their world, for example by lobbying governments to do more to regulate the mining industry, a message he conveys with the subtle inclusion of tiny industrial diggers on the earth’s surface.