Visual Momentum: Climate Change Water to Dust with Mette Lampcov
Table to miss interview. It's all about documenting climate change with Meta lamp cough Hey welcome back to another episode of this. We can photo. I'm your host Frederik van Johnson Today Day on the show. I have the distinct pleasure of chatting with Meta Lamp Cov. She is amazing in many respects. You'RE GONNA find out a couple of them. In in this interview the main thrust of this interview though is climate change and some of the work. She's doing to raise awareness of that issue with her camera so welcome to the show. How's it going thank you. Thanks for having me. I'm excited to have you. We've got a lot to talk about. We've got a a lot to talk about so through the eyes of your camera. The planet is under sees right in many ways so this this project is people can see in the blog post for this episode this project that you're working on cold water to dust give me the gist of that project in in. Hell Hell it came to be and it really came to be from just the experience of living in the drought that you know that's about the seven eight years ago now a you know everything around those turning. Brown all the bills for quite up and the rest water restrictions and really you felt you needed to learn. I was curious what was going on a side accepted into mentorship program and it it was sort of the perfect curiosity to keep moving along with an accepted sorry yeah. I think that's Salak voted onto the game just like any other any other project curiosity right brought it on and through. It's interesting so you live in California you right now in southern California and as we were talking before or off line you were telling me that you narrowly missed the the wildfires. The the that southern California recently experienced tell takes the that that sort of experience a little bit because that was obviously a contributor to your passion mentioned for Documenting Climate Change. Right yeah I lived about boots hill three months before the fires I I I have made it many times. I have been invaluable while this fires and uneven apo- Malibu where kind of an expectation that the plywood implying implying reach that all the firemen would protect us so it was considered some a safe area in many people's minds so when the morning of the fire me I can't forget because I kinda friend from ballot with his communist state in my house because I had to go out town to take care of my dogs and Texas at seven in the morning but you get out of bed. Get out of bed leave and I was going to be concerned about what I had to do. I just wanted to make sure she was leaving as what I was seeing gene online twitter on images of coming out of the way beyond anything I've ever seen before yeah ah working on climate issues in like I have documented fires before but this this was a different monster the before in in Malibu. Yes this is very close to all. It wasn't a bad that affected every mind everybody I know and has found it back at me you and it's interesting because when when you tell people that yes. I live in Malibu California some of the most expensive real estate on the earth rate It's it's interesting because I've seen this. There's there's a different sort of perspective that a lot of Americans have or people around the world have in general like yeah those people just go buy another house right. There in Malibu is probably one of twelve houses. They own anyway when that's not really the case and it's it's a psychological sort of impact right. Can you again again. Did you experience that sort of the prejudiced I had massive. Traffic is really good. Words used I am not there is a section of mouth with s expensive wheel of saint probably some of the most expensive in the world us also just normal people normal lives noble incomes him to give me a perspective real estate in La in some perspective as expensive expensive patients off the ballot and a lot of the people that photographs of people that don't have enough insurance cover this soul you know and also so on another note. I don't think we should decide on what you photograph. Depending on the financial situation of people race lose hall you you lose your home and all your belongings and that was a big disconnect trying to tell his story that whilst this kind of thing all it's Malibu and even even takes me hells dry. They want to deliver the finance running late a need to shower because I extinct and they're like well. You don't be like eating dinner early. Can you know trying to make an achromatic in his uncle ashes and when when I got to the dinner with six weeks after the FIS to ask me people at Sei to rebuild yet well it took nine months to clean the Korea I mean nobody is rebuilding and on another note. I just saw a friend of mine. WHO's an architect she just had I think a house clearly out of I think it's four hundred fifty loans and actually physically you know there's one hundred fifty thousand five five hundred structures but I think it was in fifty holes in Molina structure as could be schools and many other things she is not a house house has been cleared meaning. It's now nine months later eight houses W. O. K. to stop building and starting it in cold is to give you an idea that has done is that's. That's scary and depressing at the same time you know one of the things that I'm sure you you know especially people that were affected by the fires may remember was the president came down and visited and gave some advice about about what what Californians could have done to prevent the fire now. They have you on the hot seat. I'm interested literally hotseat. I'm interested no how how did you. How did you take that because I think he said something about? You know you Shoulda rake the leaves or something like that right. When people like you said are are suffering through burning burning real estate but what was what was your feeling about that the honest to this shaddix a sack you remember what he said? I just remember remember laughing and drugging and he's always confused. That doesn't know what he's talking about also. It's it's you know it's a coolest prisoner. Essentially speaking he was referring to remember correctly forest health health the fact that there was a connection to that and yeah and I hope this is different shoe but someone connected to wildfire but yes communicating even came out with. I can't remember what he said that it happened. I remember standing on the side of the road. Malibu and I was like he standing in a roadblock because nobody could get in to Malibu forgot. It was ages thing. This must have been eight attacks day. He came to visit and people are still trying to getting that homes but if you were if you wanted to go in you could you could walk in and you could walk out. They would let me do that at that stage but you know people out. We were close shot off. You know points both locks because he was is that everybody was so angry and skewered this man had up here making signs and but then he I don't really yeah Jeez yeah well. Let's switch gears to a more positive. Look at this so this. This interview obviously is about photography and the documentary process. I'm really curious to learn about that in the in the story that the full blogger for you're at this this interview serve associated with you mentioned that there was before you started this project. There was a mountain of research and homework that you had to do before for clicking the shutter. Take me through that because a lot of people say it's you know. Just go out there with your camera. Get you get you know Little Fuji Camera and go snap some pictures there right right this story. It wasn't that simple right. What take me through that part of it the research now? I I am an OB searching to me. We searching Susan Alm. Tom. Would say you take the period at work on his shoes. I spent seventy to eighty percent. We searching be full. You know that that takes at the time of a few twenty percent. If I you know as an example I did a story on Tree Motala team this year Nevada Adamov since I got out to biologists National Forest Services to National Hawks spoke to share anybody conservancy they connected me to people then I got to forest management as a specific session Minnesota factors that satisfy bugs and then I go and then I ask more questions again reached out to experts so now. UC Davis met climate experts all kinds of sciences said Ucla a there's something that happens Ms Research. I I'm curious to know. Where am I going looking. phobic complicated complicated thing about unique climate change in a way it's transparent. You know it's not paint go per mole and it doesn't move around it. You'll outfits and all that not sexy. I have to go and see what I should help. Tell this to help explain something that can be very complex and subtle or can be really extreme but how oh you did admitted Ryan connect the science and the dots offering is going speaking to people learning from them learning through the experiences last around in what's happening but again you've got a DVD because it's not obviously it's I am an often very key factor and I am a feeling these objects a don't be on the stand the necessarily all they just sort of the natural progression of environment around them so so so then that information and and then experience knowledge and Nickelback ago all you know I might find a professor left knows about something I saw was curious about those out there. I made him a Holler. Go just this trip to look at this one specific issue. I'm curious what you experience a what do you see but did you feel so it really interesting because I've become the go between often scientists who works on specific issues now being to these places and this so I I kind of have expensive seeing knowing the signs so it'd be really interesting now do you do you feel like you become the an expert like if you're if you're talking to a professor or a climate scientists or someone that knows more than you do about the topic of course it's you're observing information but but on the opposite side of it like you said there are people that don't really understand what's happening to them sort of rolling with the punches do you find yourself in the position of educator when you go in with your cameras and sort of explaining and being sort of an evangelist for for climate change or not the US yes. I don't believe in preaching in anyway shape or form. I already goes listen. My job is to listen and people ask me what I think that I'm honest you now. I am there at seldom reason so it's Offenburg blatantly climate change shoes that can be climate change issues that can be consecutive dos. That's you know exasperate annoying right blowing in the wind affecting people's House you know so that can be very subtle little things and I tell them I would never preach. I never it's not my job. A most of the Land Workman's I duNno modern fifty fifty if you believe in climate change but also working a lot of people below the dope beats climate change is happening and also work with people that have specifically facility in public health issues. I am often end up in migrant communities. You know people that are here documented. All you don't feel safe. Shape too scared to tell me what's actually happening so then all the Intel reading in a very roundabout way see that that's the way I want her to stand it because you you don't strike me as a as a as a person. That's shy right double so passionate I mean your passion for this project comes through so if you're not shying you're passionate about a project and then someone you know tells you that thing working on. It's a myth I don't. I don't really believe of it. You know I wouldn't know what that reaction is. Do you do you just internalize it and walk away or d you confront and destroy way. What do you do. It's Li I think when I A- while working as a documentary photographer slash generalists it is just not my job to sell stole. My opinion is less enraged. Civically asks me and I've had people that way. Generally genuinely ask ask that wants to know and once the sad and that's fantastic presenting call okay. I'm definitely going to spend some Simon and give you the time of day eighty. See what I'm seeing in. My experience has not had an but I'm not that to change their mind in the way that I just feel like in that moment. It's not my job but that would be very aggressive. Fourteen saying you know this is bullshit. You shouldn't be here. Am You know how how dare you and you're wrong and you know this is. The natural progression knows ice age. Now we talk Mattson to get cold again. It's all noble progression doc nature and I cannot be bothered to try her may slammed because if you have if you at this stage in a specially you know someone educated tainted in America and you haven't worked out then. I'm really the room if you don't get it by now dude. I'm not that GONNA waste my time. It's like I might say we can choose to believe in science yeah yeah I would. I would imagine it's a lot like a religion right because you're not gonNA change. Someone's mind either in either direction to move from one religion to another or to believe in religion or whatever it's almost like banging your head against concrete and you have better things to do. I would imagine like you know speaking to the people who believe you. I don't think he can have can science because religionists is philosophy and that you know not not comparing religion and science but comparing pairing the trying to convince someone of something you know if you don't believe in the science or you don't believe in their religion. You're not gonNA convince them. It's not even worth with your time right. It's also something because I am an atheist. I August really disliked CHANGE MY I mind not. I have not seen a full respect for anybody from the Internet religion. They believe in practice up you you know. I appreciated the night along culture at all the people not for me. I don't want somebody to brainwash me about the religion but I think the signs becomes I mean I might have gone off track there bill. This is great. We're getting into the mind of Meta. This is in the I don't want you know I think that's the difference between about being educated a learning and being curious and wanted Understan- Stan back to what goes on around us to me. This is what this is about. You know we have to stop denying science side Susan and again science is a goal isn't my every saw things change. INFLEC- trade move in. It's not static. It goes because new things things get discovered but you know. I really don't know what to say without green climate change because the just had to look around themselves. Look what's happening just in general Komo news cycle every single day and I always say to people think about this. If you'd fall asleep twenty years ago and you've well up to them at the news it would be so self added because he will be such a shock to see what's going on and if you read it and said you know this was this is why this is what's happening you go yeah but this low mu unique nation some people. I feel like they can use and then we could use is being shocked getting used to cycle. I think we saw and then you get you get to the point where you think well. You know. It's bigger than I am. I can't do anything about it so I'm just GonNa live my life unless you're Meta and then you pick up your camera and you go tell a story about so the one of the one of the questions I wanted to ask. You was about specifically about documentary work right. We talked about the research that goes into it. which is a mountain? You said eighty plus percent of the time that you spent on this is spent doing homework before you've been clicked the shutter on the other end of that. Do you feel like the work that you're doing is affecting change. I would imagine that's the main goal is to raise awareness into effect change. Do you feel like it's doing its job. I think this is a particular difficult Michael Time to do that in America and his totally connected to that it so the government you know if you have a government denies climate change change creates the fuse. Everybody was made godless. If you believe in regardless of Holly Feel about yours to give them that little bit of an excuse excuse to not deal with it essentially and so. I think I have felt that I've been asylum this project while you know when a boundless wasn't Governor Justice Movement politically was in the news at student stop. Let's you know let's agreed today. unitewd to their parents say climate change a cold walk. Its let's move forward but we going backwards and that's a bad. I think less people interested those. The new cycle is so busy to trump trump that you know I mean that's an airline about which is wrong but I think there's a certain the email denial attached to being table to not the over that yeah the scary part is wanted to get your thoughts on this in your perspective the whole head in the San Dan thing where it's not my problem you know if a millennial or younger or something you know it's or even if older if if an older and my fifty sixty seventies email at I had my time with the planet it's over. I'm not even going to be here for the rising sea levels or if you're younger you may have your head in the sand. You may be thinking you know what there's plenty of time to fix it. I'll go do something that I can affect. Do you see that and you in your documentary work. Do you see that sort sort of bifurcation of opinions with people just sort of Leeann. It's not my problem or do you see people engaging in some cases not the younger people aw I think now I think it has to do with a very closely by clinical believe something on climate changes become a democratic thing. Especially American also gets like that in Europe. You unfortunately unfortunately wait. It's copulated that regardless of the core real beliefs they gonNA save. I don't believe in that economic beliefs you know some Christian beliefs law rather the hat attacks caught all make Mo Monty or whatever so that I'm not going to deal with this something. It's an age he shot things do without the people do for a living founded mansell economic believes. It's a classic comics. I'm curious. There's about how your your camera. Let's talk about gear a little bit so I'm curious about in a lot of other genres or photographers from a bunch of other genres that I speak to they tend to say especially street photographers in photojournalism obviously but they'll say the camera acts as a passport into situations that they wouldn't ordinarily early be able to get into or be welcomed into in the case of this project. Did you find that your your food. You camera allowed you to get in places that they would have said. nope sorry. REMEM- you can't come in here. Yeah I mean I think having the camera on me makes me feel like I have came mainly the cameras. It makes me say I'm here to do this. You know so that helps a camera in impasse forget you know and then I also have this other. That might be my little case law here in America. I'm a foreigner but I don't it people can believe place me at Alpha. Speak Spanish. I grew up in Spain a so this is so not look like you know. AGAI- asset white American but the hearing was strange accent speaking you'd especially to Latinos they can hear my Spanish accent. Send that confused actually. That's one of my biggest passports bear. He's like Oh. Who is this judge me. They can't could mean a box and that's really awful. That's good that that is your Cape. Not The camera yeah the multi-lingual you know your multi-lingual skills. Is Your your indefinite Cape so about gear so what which. which cameras did you choose? I know you But which cameras did you choose for this particular assignment assignment and slash job in why so probably continue you might WanNa have seen waving excuse me the cannon. Can I talk about all of that absolutely yeah yeah. We're not this is this is not a commercial you can talk about whatever you had had an editing space yet no so. I felt this week cameras at shop with my Fujifilm x t eighty two am I saying that I'm really bad sixty two to fifty s and my can invite the muscle and Rome that can fly but I'm not actually I mean I haven't license number lobster glasses ages. Oh interesting so you're you know I had that on my notes to ask you about that because it seems like a purpose built assignment for flying a drone out there yeah so you so you. How much did you use the drone. When you're when you're doing shots I didn't because I didn't use it that much. I did use it while it was still debris. Grounded will so duff seamus meeting the last thing I wanted to put my daughter in for some reason isn't still take my camera is the best 'cause I'm trying to get people so the great to get this. One image needs mediates rate. A one or two images puts me. Having my still camera is still so much faster yeah. It's like it's like the establishing shot in movies movies right. You always see the wide to let you know where you are than the medium than the close up but you're not gonNA stay on. The wide shot the entire time right. Listen some sort of Godzilla epic or something you don't talk. Police framed the fun. I love it. I mean they're playing trouble every day a eh but it's also takes a lot of time a lot of battery. You know it's it's fatal. It's complicated new. I'm also on the firestone's been falling trees. Foley wires everywhere. I needed more people and I'm always allowed. I go out. I'm always low on on on their signs wants for the Wall Street Journal ahead of today's but the rest of the time it's me long and then I'd like to throw gets complicated. Yeah you know I mean it's more more complex. I would imagine you know sort of using a camera like say. The one of the Fuji Cameras are the Canon Cameras or whatever you choose to shoot with that day it simple the if F F stop shutter speed ISO and you can concentrate on the story versus Elvis other stuff right. I was GonNa say AH yeah. I'm curious about the so you're shooting like what is it day in the life. Look like obviously each day was different but going out there and what is the prep prep day the prep before you go out to shoot a particular area. What does it look like when you're out there and then when you come back would he do offload and back up and coal and what's what's it. What's it day in the life of Meta so in that in the fire story. Oh yeah so that really depended on when that will start in the beginning. It was really fast. You know that was I was like scrambling to try by batteries to leisurely go out with as many batteries. Areso could get older less in hot case. I have a belt at the next Orlando to on a have very sexy. Fanny pack my wallet. McKee's McKee's live bomb everything so that develops like body camera by always of two bodies with minutes always my could would you film at its Mike Handle it. You know what happened. The wrecks which camera I take off. My preparation is when I was is by now. When those mandatory evacuation menin sort of means you know at this moment blocks nobody can get in? Some people stayed but you know it's it's a five song in the fire hire men out there putting out fires still and utility. South you get pollen soaps that Ronald and all this kind of stuff the main it's inspiring making sure had clear lenses best you can and and run and they're not come home download make possible get to New York and then to start again nets ridiculous. I love the next morning and go out and make it back. You know I'll be back in at nine. Eleven solve shakes. Wow Wow now our post processing your own work or are you sending the raw files off to New York and and letting them handle it. Now you don't do that you do own. Were okay good. Okay so you handle that and you you send them the final the final files that you want them to see cool. This is crazy are you how do you how do you feel about the project and the like from the beginning ginning of doing this project all the way through to now. How do you feel if any has this project changed you as a person feel like you feel like coming. Obviously you're smarter. We get smarter every day. But did you feel like it's fundamentally changed the way you think about things yes. This is partake checked has profoundly changed me. I think I caught my heart and soul into suggestion this am I learned so much about climate change change. I've learned a lot of people pass affecting them. I think it'd be if anything I have become really good at seeing seeing these things and understanding them up developed developed as a human being and seeing this and I think as I think doc metric photographers. Just it's the weirdest job in the world. You're going into people's homes. Places never imagined I would Li. I feel so lucky again to seize the to be present doesn't get to be the world's and joining in complicated issues to them I when I saw the you know we'll see fine. I'll go in and so people on the beaches trying to union the sending boats with food and supplies in modern generators be able to see that and being able to be you know and nst documenting prescribed bones and treatments Halloween share us and Latin set for us that was actually go suj- light. The forest thought up yeah. Wow that's that's amazing. That's my dream and my happiness on the body of worked at we'll we'll hopefully change minds and and live on what are your next plans. What what's the next project ED. You'RE GONNA tackle. I'm not going to tell you mccomb on. I think it was a hand. They'll tell US exactly. You give us a little a little then. We'll tell you I am. I turn Iowa fifty and that has changed. How people react me speaks to me on how the world treats especially as a woman and I wanted to look at this saw. I'm looking in actually they want to do with my Key X fifty cents cold. I'm so bad at this and I I WANNA do a portrait project with women about forty and wear down Malaya's those successes and who they are right now world and I think it's something I felt coming in. I'm in the middle of working on on just stunning shooting and not speaking really you know I'll be out to Addison's when I have a couple of shots. Do you want to do this with me but I just WanNa get going 'cause I'm excited about the camera and I'm excited about this project. love it and that's all it takes so take your passion from one area in focus it on another area to you you just to wrap things up like I said earlier your your passion for for this other job working on clearly comes through raid so for the photographers that are out there watching this and they're trying to figure out a project like this to sort of get their sink their teeth into what advice would you give them you know in in terms of things to cover and where to point their camera you mean as ideas rather all the necessary counter find a long project. Yes exactly how to find a long-term project how to get inspired passionate about something but I think you got over the any you gotta find something. You really like. Don't do what you think you should like you a lot of people on the Aziz Cool. I should like this. No I mean you could go and shoot your neighbor. Stop for the next three years. NFL You could be interesting. I find it says you you have to athlete dedicate. You saw it have to be willing truthful and honest meme. It's it's painful if its it's exhausting eight you it's it's such that occasion and you have to love it. You have to love and really boulder anything profoundly care about what you're GonNa go on photograph and Hugo you can engage with and for me that has become the land and people I photograph to me just as much as I'm photographing and hoping to talk to people climate change and tell all these stories it's awesome to California and environment nature that needs protect absolutely love that level editor to California. That's that's that'd been the title that was a love letter and pictures to California. People WanNA see your work. We'll obviously have some photos. photo gallery associated with the blog post in this video. I've been overlaying the much of your work here from this particular project but if people wanna see more urban and more of what you're working on or connect with you what's the best way to do that and follow me on instagram which my name at Maximum Oh cup. NBA Teensy e Left Alien P. C. O. B. and my website but I've seen my instagram is properly where end up being the most. I'm chuck task average keeping up acceptable but having assignments they ended up news on my website. Did you just say fantastically average. See that's perfect. You are clearly writer. I love that I'm GonNa have to borrow that fantastic average as they're a mental. Am thank you so much for coming on. It's been a pleasure having you congratulations on the project that you're working on and Dan. Please come on again for the next project when you when you're ready to talk more deeply about it. I'm excited for that. That sounds really interesting. Thank you so much for having me all roles of carrying about the story found story and and carrying the product media means to me so thank you you. You're welcome. You have a good rest of your week and we'll talk next pecan.