In the age of the image, photography being omnipresent, what can pictures tell us about ourselves as individuals and about the human race? What does an image of the constructed world reveal about our relationship to one another? Does our pursuit of tomorrow render the present expendable? Has avariciousness, the lust for the new, for more of everything, consumed the consumer? Are our ever-expanding, networked cities creating a chasm that leaves us alone and disconnected? These are some of the questions that the exhibition Civilization: The Way We Live Now, at the National Gallery of Victoria, asks the viewer to consider.
Through the enquiring minds of more than one hundred photographers from around the world, Civilization holds a mirror to society, its scope ranging wide to create a rich visual tapestry that conveys the wonder of humankind’s capacity to innovate, nurture, and adapt. But this collection, which features more than two hundred works, also acts as a warning, reminding us that, in the rush to embrace the next thing, we are in jeopardy of losing our humanity, and our planet.