Time and tide at Wesbeth

Anne de Carbuccia at Wesbeth Center for the Arts. Photo: Nicole Lockwood
Anne de Carbuccia’s photographs, made in all corners of the globe, evoke finitude


Environmental advocacy and art have become one at Westbeth Center for the Arts, where activist and photographer Anne de Carbuccia has her “One Planet One Future” exhibit on display through Nov. 21.

“This is my first show in America,” said de Carbuccia, who was born in New York but grew up in the south of France. “We were very welcomed by Westbeth, which was an honor being that it’s such a landmark. New York is great place if you want to have a voice because it gives you that option.”

“One Planet One Future” brings light to the idea that this world cannot last forever, particularly given consumer trends and humans’ treatment of the environment. Through photos of landscapes from vastly different ends of the Earth, de Carbuccia strives to display the natural beauty the planet holds, and the importance of working toward sustainability. Her photos often feature wildlife, bodies of water and native flora from such diverse locations as Africa, Antarctica, India, Italy and other countries and continents.

“The main focus of the image is the time shrine, but the shrine is always made for what’s behind it,” she said “That’s why in the images I have a lot of perspective because the foreground is what recounts the story, and is the visual, creative part of the artist, but the real story is about what’s behind it.”

These “time shrines” refer to the focal point of de Carbuccia’s photos, which typically consist of a skull, an hourglass and elements that can be found on location such as rocks and bones. These “shrines” are intended to be representations of vanity and time, more specifically the concept that time is not limitless. She said that profits from the sale of her images go to the nonprofit Time Shrine Foundation she created to support organizations working to protect the places and animals featured in her artwork.

“It’s not supposed to be a negative symbol, it’s a powerful symbol and reminder that we shouldn’t be too vain and we should appreciate a single moment in life and make the best of it because we aren’t immortal,” de Carbuccia said.

The premise behind the artist’s collection was inspired during an expedition in Antarctica. Joined by fellow artists, de Carbuccia traveled to largely untapped destinations and implemented her time shrines in photographs on a trial basis.

“It started as a bit of a test because one could say that what I do is very avant garde,” she said. “But when I came back from Antarctica I realized I had a series, and for an artist suddenly you have something that is much more than you thought. Now it’s a story.”

Through her images, De Carbuccia hopes to relay the message that the time to act on environmental issues is now. She wants her audience to pause and consider what type of world they want to live in and foster for the future generations.