Using the power of photojournalism to expose social, economic and ecological injustice

Posts from the ‘¡Buen Vivir! Gallery’ category

Photographer Peter Beard revisited at iBuen Vivir! gallery

> BY JACK FORAN             Artvoice Weekly Edition » Issue v14n44 (11/05/2015) » Art Scene

The deeper the white man went into Africa, the faster the life flowed out of it…vanishing in acres of trophies and hides and carcasses. —Peter Beard

r1The current show at ¡Buen Vivir! gallery commemorates the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of celebrity photographer and visual artist and environmentalist Peter Beard’s art book exposé on the r2 mass destruction of African elephant herds and other wildlife. The book, entitled The End of the Game-—The Last Word from Paradise, is being reprinted this year in an anniversary edition by the publisher Taschen. The exhibit is titled The End of the Game—The Last Word from Paradise, Revisited. The exhibit consists of photos by Orin Langelle and photos and artwork and writing by Beard. Several copies of the reprint edition of the book are available for inspection, and some of his mad scramble of words and pictures artworks. Wall copy text explains how, beginning in the 1960s, working at Kenya’s Tsavo East National Park, Beard photographed and documented the demise of more than 35,000 elephants and 5,000 Black Rhinos.

Beard was and is a complicated person and his conservation message is complex. Too complex perhaps for the mass media to quite grasp. The demise of big game African wildlife, as Beard saw it, was primarily due to misguided conservation efforts. The media preferred to focus on something more simple and straightforward, like poaching. Further explained in wall copy. In the 1980s, a CBS Sixty Minutes segment attributed the die-off of wildlife at the more than 5,000-square-mile Tsavo East park primarily to poaching. Beard contended that the conservation effort that resulted in establishment of the park was more the heart of the problem.

Long before the 1948 creation of the park—which Beard avers was instigated more by European “game-savers,” as he calls them, than indigenous Africans—native hunter-gatherer tribes co-existed with the elephants. Kept the elephant population in balance was the idea. Following the creation of the park, Beard says, the native hunter-gatherers were rounded up and imprisoned for “poaching,” which then resulted in elephant overpopulation, which led to depletion of food stocks and sources in the elephant habitat area, and ultimately desertification of the habitat area, and elephants died of starvation in vast numbers.

Beard wrote that in the early days of his work in the Tsavo East park, in the 1960s, conservation authorities estimated a total of three thousand elephants inhabited the park. Later, some Ford Foundation scientists counted forty thousand elephants in the park. Beard said the Ford Foundation scientists were forced to resign for suggesting overpopulation as the problem.

A letter explaining the more complex—than poaching—situation was hand-delivered along with a copy of Beard’s book to a number of cognizant individuals in the Sixty Minutes program, including Morley Safer and Harry Reasoner, but had no effect. The Tsavo East show—unaltered—was rerun several months later.

The Langelle photos document two celebrational events of Beard’s career. A 1977 one-person show of Beard’s work at the Manhattan International Center of Photography, and the next year, 1978, his fortieth birthday party at Studio 54 in New York City. Lots of celebrities present at both events. To name some of the better known: Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Andy Warhol, Truman Capote, Caroline Kennedy, Kurt Vonnegut. Some unidentified knockout beautiful women. Beard is 77 now, but in his earlier years he was movie star good looking, and based on the photos did not lack for female admirers. For a while he was married to Cheryl Tiegs.

Many beautiful women, none more so than Iman in a photo by Beard at his home base, called Hog Ranch, near Nairobi. The caption says Beard “discovered” Iman, who subsequently moved to the United States to start a modeling career, and that she is currently married to David Bowie.

The End of the Game—The Last Word from Paradise, Revisited exhibit continues until December 17.

[¡Buen Vivir! Gallery note: We our having a First Friday Reception tomorrow night, 6 November from 6 – 9 p.m. Wine and hors d’oeuvres served.  ¡Buen Vivir! Gallery, 148 Elmwood Ave, Buffalo, NY. Top photo model and actress Lauren Hutton and artist Peter Beard; 1st right photo: artist Andy Warhol; and 2nd right photo: Exhibit designer Marvin Israel (left) and Peter Beard. All three photos by Orin Langelle at the International Center of Photography – 1977.]

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Former Earth Liberation Front press officer, James Leslie Pickering unloading a box of items seized in a raid 14 years ago at the EFL Press Office in Oregon. Global Justice Ecology Project's Anne Petermann is on the right. The returned objects will be on display at the ¡Buen Vivir! Gallery in Buffalo, NY. through July 26.

Former Earth Liberation Front press officer, James Leslie Pickering unloading a box of items seized in a raid 14 years ago at the ELF Press Office in Oregon. Global Justice Ecology Project’s Anne Petermann is on the left. The returned objects will be on display at the ¡Buen Vivir! Gallery in Buffalo, NY. through July 26. Photo: Langelle

Special Gallery Event – Opening July 15th, 6-9 p.m.

Returned Objects:

A Multimedia Art Installation

Earth Liberation Front Press Office April 5, 2001

Communications Equipment Seized by FBI Released 14 Years Later

This multimedia art installation of returned objects, Earth Liberation Front Press Office April 5, 2001: Communications Equipment Seized by FBI Released 14 Years Later, opens on July 15 from 6-9 p.m. The installation runs through July 26th.

On display will be items seized in an April 5, 2001 raid by a Joint Terrorism Task Force led by the FBI on the Earth Liberation Front Press Office in Portland, OR. These returned objects, fourteen years after the raid, include fax machines, computers, a cell phone, phone books, and typewriters. The communications equipment seized belonged to the former ELF press officers, including current Buffalo Burning Books co-owner, Leslie James Pickering. – More on Exhibit
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This review of my exhibit was by Jack Foran was published in Artvoice Weekly Edition » Issue v14n23 (06/11/2015) » Art Scene. Artvoice (print and web) is one of Buffalo, NY’s two major alternative weeklies. Additionally, the exhibit continues through June 19, at which time I’ll give a walk-through and talk about the various photos, scheduled from 6 to 8 pm. Wine and hors d’oeuvres provided. The ¡Buen Vivir! Gallery is located at 148 Elmwood Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14201- OL



By Jack Foran

Photographer Orin Langelle’s website concludes with two quotations. From Brazilian educator and philosopher Paolo Freire: “Washing one’s hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral.” And folksinger and activist Phil Ochs: “It is wrong to expect a reward for your struggles. The reward is the act of struggle itself, not what you win. Even though you can’t expect to defeat the absurdity of the world, you must make that attempt. That’s morality, that’s religion. That’s art. That’s life.” They pretty much sum up Langelle’s life and work.

A potpourri of his witness to the struggle photos from the 1980s and 1990s is currently on view at his r1¡Buen Vivir! gallery on Elmwood in Allentown. Including the iconic photo of an unidentified environmental activist, poised on a log tripod construction, arm and fist raised in spirited gesture of we shall overcome, at a training camp in non-violent disruption techniques in Vermont in the late ‘90s.

r2The exhibit is dedicated to the memory of activist Judi Bari (1949-1997), an activist against redwood logging in northern California who narrowly escaped death when her car was blown up by a pipe bomb—following which she was arrested by the FBI on charges of eco-terrorism. The FBI alleged she had been transporting explosives. Laboratory and other analyses discovered that the explosives inr3 question were placed directly under the driver’s seat and equipped with a motion sensor trigger to cause them to detonate when the car was driven, whereupon the Oakland District Attorney declined to press the FBI charges. Bari filed a violation of civil right suit on matters including false arrest and illegal search. Five years after her death her estate was awarded $4 million in the case.r4

The targets of the protests to which Langelle’s photos bear witness range from roadway expansion schemes in London, England, to golf course expansion and development of condominiums on land sacred to the Mohawk Indians, to logging activities within the Trail of Tears State Forest r5in Illinois, to Hydro-Quebec plans for hydroelectric production facilities on Cree Indian lands in northern Canada, to a protest against the Tasmanian Forestry Commission, Australia, an agency that is supposed to protect forests from rapacious practices of commercial timber interests, for failing to do so.

r6One photo is of an activist arrested—in New Hampshire—for handing out fliers urging people to write to their representatives in Congress in opposition to a timber harvest scheme in the White Mountain National Forest. Another—in Vermont—shows Abenaki Tribal Chief Homer St. Francis standing up in court, when he was told he was “out of order,” responding, “No, Judge, you’re out of order.” The Abenaki apparently had never ceded their land to any state or federal government, and continued to issue their own license plates and hunting and fishing permits. They were demanding that all Abenaki land be returned to them. Ultimately, the Vermont Supreme Court ruled that all Abenaki claims had been “extinguished due to the increasing weight of history.” History apparently was to blame.

Not all the protest activist photos show protest actions. There is a wonderful portrait of a Cree elder woman, looking ancient and patient—but not infinitely patient—taken during the photographer’s journey to Cree territory to learn about and document the struggle against the Hydro-Quebec project. The second phase of the project, that is. The first phase, the La Grande Project dam, had already flooded thousands of acres of Cree land, displacing resident natives and resulting in environmental devastation such as when an untimely water release drowned 10,000 migrating caribou. The second phase was another dam proposal that was postponed indefinitely following protests in Canada and worldwide. One photo shows protesters in front of the Quebec consulate in London with a banner denouncing the hydropower scheme. The second phase was ironically well-named. It was called the Great Whale Project.

The exhibit continues through June 19, at which time Langelle will give a walk-through and talk about the various photos, scheduled from 6 to 8 pm.

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The show opened 3 April 2015.

struggle final show

Please come to this closing reception and gallery walk-through – refreshments include wine and hors d’oeuvres.

Struggles for Justice is the last show in the present gallery space.  The ¡Buen Vivir Gallery is moving to the first floor of the same location at 148 Elmwood Ave., in Buffalo’s Allentown. The Grand re-opening of the gallery will be on 7 August 2015 with a photo exhibit by Anne Petermann entitled Triumph Over Tragedy.

Anne Petermann is the Executive Director of Global Justice Ecology Project and the Coordinator of the international Campaign to STOP Genetically Engineered Trees.


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¡Buen Vivir! Gallery – 148 Elmwood, Buffalo, NY (Allentown) 14201

The  Gallery is open on Thursdays from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., during special events and by appointment – call 716-536-5669

*****struggles 8.5X11bAllentown’s ¡Buen Vivir! gallery opened its doors for the 2015 season on Friday 3 April 2015 (First Friday) with an exhibit titled: Struggles For Justice: Forests, Land and Human Rights – Late 80s to Late 90s. Live music was provided at the opening by accomplished violinist and composer, David Adamczyk.

The exhibit showcases photographs by photojournalist and gallery curator Orin Langelle. The photos document the efforts of people on the front lines of campaigns to stop social and ecological injustice. All of the photographs were shot with film.

Exhibit Online Now

The ¡Buen Vivir! Gallery is dedicating the exhibit, Struggles for Justice, to Judi Bari. Bari was a environmental and union organizer in northern California who fought to stop the logging of the last of the ancient redwoods. May 24th of this year will mark the 25th anniversary of the attempt to kill Bari when a pipe bomb exploded under the seat of her car.

Although the bomb was intended to kill her, and did severely maim her, the FBI immediately arrested her while in the hospital. They never looked for the real bomber. Bari maintained she was targeted due to her success in bringing environmentalists and mill workers together to protect the redwoods. She died of breast cancer in 1997, but her estate sued the FBI over their handling of the bombing, resulting in a $4 million settlement.

Together with Burning Books, Langelle Photography and Global Justice Ecology Project will show the documentary Who Bombed Judi Bari? (see trailer below) on Wednesday, 21 May 2015 at Burning Books. Burning Books is located at 420 Connecticut St. in Buffalo, NY.

As Leslie Marmon Silko says in her book Ceremony, “…as long as you remember what you have seen, then nothing is gone. As long as you remember, it is part of this story we have together.”

Struggles For Justice: Forests, Land and Human Rights – Late 80s to Late 90s runs through 19 June 2015

Previews of the Exhibit:

Step Out Buffalo – Documenting resistance before cell phones, 9/11 and social media

The Public – Ecology & Environment: Activist and Photographer Orin Langelle

The  ¡Buen Vivir¡ Gallery is located at the offices of Global Justice Ecology Project, which also house the international Campaign to STOP Genetically Engineered Trees, and Biofuelwatch‘s U.S. media program.

Multi-Award winning feature documentary Who Bombed Judi Bari? is a suspenseful story about people who risked their lives to save the California redwoods and took on the FBI for trampling their freedom of speech. It shines a light on an amazing protest movement that succeeded against all odds – with creativity, music, and humor. In 1990, a bomb blew up in the car of two of the most prominent Earth First! redwood activists: Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney. They were accused of bombing themselves, but twelve years later won their landmark lawsuit against the FBI, proving that officers falsified evidence and intentionally tried to frame them. To date, the real bomber has never even been searched for and remains at-large. Directed/Edited by Mary Liz Thomson, Produced by Darryl Cherney, Executive Producer Elyse Katz, Co-Executive Producer Sheila Laffey, Co-Executive Producers Bill & Laurie Benenson

Moving to Allentown in 2012, concerned photographer Orin Langelle has documented a wide range of topics, cultures, ecosystems and geographies for over four decades and across six continents. The topics represented in his body of work include struggles against human rights abuses, economic injustice, ecological devastation and the oppression of women, as well as Indigenous Peoples’ efforts for autonomy and land rights.

The ¡Buen Vivir! Gallery was founded to present an historical look at social movements, struggle and everyday life. It is designed to counter the societal amnesia from which we collectively suffer—especially with regard to the history of social and ecological struggles, and to inspire new generations to participate in the making of a new history.

The name of the gallery, ¡Buen Vivir!, is a concept stemming from indigenous and other inhabitants of Latin America. ¡Buen vivir! means life in harmony between humans, communities, and the Earth–where work is not a job to make others wealthier, but for a livelihood that is sustaining, fulfilling, and in tune with the common good.

This is a concept slowly spreading northwards and the ¡Buen Vivir! Gallery aims to bring this thought to Buffalo.



2 Gallery-Poster-CC-796x1024First Exhibit: Climate Change: Faces, Places & Protest  – Photos from the front lines                     

3 October – 5 December 2014

Now Online

A new gallery in the historic Allentown district in Buffalo, NY, ¡Buen Vivir¡, opened its doors Friday 3 October 2014 with an exhibit Climate Change: FACES PLACES & PROTEST – photos from the front lines, that showcases more than two decades of work by photojournalist and gallery curator Orin Langelle.

The climate crisis was chosen as the theme for the gallery opening due the impacts it has on communities, ecosystems and human rights struggles.  The theme was also timely.  The exhibit began shortly after the 21 September climate march and the 23 September UN Climate Summit hosted by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon in New York City, and ended on 5 December 2014 during the UN Climate Conference and Peoples’ Climate Summit, in Lima, Peru in December.

Langelle’s exhibit, “Climate Change: FACES PLACES & PROTEST – photos from the front lines,” documents a wide range of topics including the aftermath of Hurricane Mitch in Nicaragua in 1998, 2011’s Hurricane Irene in Vermont, as well as protests and demonstrations during UN Climate Conferences spanning five continents, between 2004 and 2011.

“Orin Langelle may not be a combat photographer, but he has risked his safety and well being to cover peoples’ struggles for a better life, sometimes in remote territories deep in the jungle, in communities imminently threatened by military or paramilitary invasion, or immediately after a natural disaster,” stated Anne Petermann, Executive Director of Global Justice Ecology Project. “This gallery will be an opportunity for the people of Buffalo to be exposed to this important body of work.”

The  ¡Buen Vivir¡ gallery is located at the offices of Global Justice Ecology Project, which also house the international Campaign to STOP Genetically Engineered Trees, and Biofuelwatch.

Prior to this show, an exhibit of Langelle’s photos documenting impacts of and response to the climate crisis was held last November at the 2013 UN Climate Conference in Warsaw, Poland.

Moving to Allentown in 2012, concerned photographer Orin Langelle has documented topics, cultures, ecosystems and geographies across six continents, including struggles against human rights abuses, economic domination, ecological devastation and the oppression of women, as well as Indigenous Peoples’ efforts for autonomy and land rights.

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