FotoFest, the biennial celebration of photography in Houston, chose Changing Circumstances: Looking at the Future of the Planet as the 2016 theme. Photography can be a tool to both examine a moment in time and to affect changes in human behavior and governmental policy. I saw that many artists were chronicling lifeforms on the planet today, noting both the abundance of life, but also dwindling species. Other photographers documented the footprint of man with images such as that of a ghostly, abandoned smelter or a massive solar power project that looks like a scene from a sci-fi movie set on another planet. Yet others boldly revealed the industrial effects on bodies of water or the polar ice caps.
The turnout from the public was strong. Perhaps it was the educational aspect of the theme, or the close connection that viewers have for wildlife and the natural world, but FotoFest should be commended for the choosing a theme that is relevant to the quality of life on our planet and also richly explored by some of the most talented photographers in the world.