Photo of the Month
Puppets and Politics

In the fight against environmental degradation, a photo is worth a thousand words

Photo of a puppeteer performing in a clay mask and white hood

Photo: Milan Ilnyckyj, 2013

A photograph can serve a documentary purpose or an aesthetic one – but the best photographs do both, says Milan Ilnyckyj, a doctoral student in political science. His interest in climate change activism has led him to photograph such events as the People’s Climate March in New York in 2014 and the Keystone XL protest and arrests at the White House in 2011.

A 2013 production by Clay and Paper Theatre, which featured gigantic puppets and a strong environmental message, was a perfect fit for Ilnyckyj’s photography. This photo depicts a moment in Our Last Best Hope – which was inspired by Idle No More, a movement supporting Indigenous sovereignty and environmental protection. The unpredictable lighting conditions presented a challenge that Ilnyckyj overcame with the help of a handheld, image-stabilizing telephoto lens. This masked figure, akin to a chorus member in a classical Greek drama, provided a strong visual and a message about environmental sustainability.

View more of Ilnyckyj’s photos on his Flickr photostream.

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