The Hard Rain book has been sent to presidents and prime ministers, business leaders, public figures and key decision-makers. We also welcome comments from readers and exhibition visitors on the issues illustrated in Hard Rain. Have your say. Email Hard Rain Project today and come back soon to see what others are saying.
We need to give a damn
Here is our world as for most of humanity it has become, and as the world’s leaders would rather not acknowledge. It is brought to us through a poem that cuts as poetry must through the facts to the meaning of things, and by photographs that capture the passing scene in one sharp permanent image – and also the emotion of it, and the reasons that lie behind it. We doubtless need statistics and learned analyses if we are to get to grips with the world but most of all we need to give a damn, and here we can see, if we take just a few minutes, why we should. This is the power of art.
A vision of the future that is ours to change
A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall was one of the defining protest songs of the sixties. While its original inspiration was the threat of nuclear meltdown, it has been effortlessly composed into a modern context by Mark Edwards, whose plangent photographic essay is as moving a piece of work as I have seen for a long time. It is also important and timely because it is the 60s generation who now make up the bulk of the establishment. A reminder of how, little by little, our capacity for righteous anger has been eroded by the years of compromise so many of us have lived through, may just move us once more to remember what it is like to yell at the top of our voices, “enough”. This disturbing, powerfully moving work is a masterpiece that summons up the ghosts of our past and a vision of the future that is ours to change. Regret and optimism make strange bedfellows, but great artists have always known this.
The words, the symbols and the music can move you to action
Someone once wrote that politics without dissent has a corpse in its mouth, and that all of us inclined to either the Right or the Left need to recognize the importance of a much wider version of subversion. We all live in a world where we are told forcibly that the alternatives to the present way of doing things are not feasible, that to believe otherwise is suspect, and the “wise” (politicians, economists) know best. So the actors of freedom, the dissenters and protestors always seem oppressed by the talkers of freedom. I have found dissent and protest is a lonely business, and yet that seems to fuel an enthusiasm for rhetoric. In anger, anguish, fear and pride it is the words, the language, the symbols, and the music that can often move you to action.
The future is not fixed
I read Hard Rain and thought it was compelling. I read it again and it was more compelling. Three months later I read it a third time while sitting in a taxi caught in a traffic jam and it was like a kick in the guts, a terrible vision of the apocalyptic future that climate change could wreak on humanity. The suffering of millions of refugees fleeing flooded or drought-stricken lands, the breakdown of economies, then civilization. And then the rule of the jungle. All these could be consequences of climate change. Mark Edwards’ photos and Dylan’s lyrics combine as if made for each other to convey a hideous future. But it doesn’t have to be like this, the future is not fixed.
Bring it to the attention of your friends, and spread it around
It has been pointed out that photographs describe everything, but explain nothing. How true. Hard Rain achieves an extraordinary feat of bringing together a diverse and remarkable selection of photographs, and by placing them into the context of this book, making them explain a very great deal. Not necessarily what they were originally intended to explain, as with Dylan’s lyrics, but something that all their authors can be proud to participate in, and feel solidarity with this message. Bring this book to the attention of your friends, and spread it around.