America's Next Top Model Nigel Barker's "A Sealed Fate"

Nigel's "Hero" seal

Art can affect us in many ways.  It can enlighten us, it can touch us emotionally, and it can motivate us.  Nigel Barker ,of America’s Next Top Model fame, is doing all of the above using the art form of photography, with his work with the Humane Society, to protect the young Harp Seal population of Northeast Canada.  We all know and have seen Nigel capturing the beauty of the models competing on Tyra Bank’s popular television show.

Nigel and his crew

Shoot of exibit room

In his exhibition “A Sealed Fate” we see Nigel use his skill with a camera to capture the life and death struggle of the innocent baby Harp Seal as it begins its “sadly” very short life in Northeast Canada.  Nigel has pledge to try to stop the unlawful hunting of the seals and he is spreading his massage to the rest of us with his beautiful and provocative photos.

Nigel tells of his Harp Seal adventure

What a beautiful baby!

When you enter the exhibition located at 401 Projects, 401 West Street, New York, NY 10014 you enter a hallway and then a room filled with the most amazing photos of Nigel’s adventure.  This was a true adventure because, to reach the baby seals, you must travel to some of the harshest climates the world has to offer.


Visitors take in the photos

The room where the film is shown

Nigel compared traveling to the snow and cold of Northeast Canada (Prince Edward Island) to being on the Moon, and that they were in constant danger of freezing, and even falling into the deadly cold water, as they traveled on the ice to get to the baby Harp Seals.  Once there, however, Nigel tells us that the baby seals (which are completely white when they are first born) are so captivating, precocious, and playful that he compared some of their behavior to that of his young son - as he photographed them enjoying their winter wonderland.

Nigel and future seal protectors

In his work with the Humane Society protecting the seals Nigel Barker takes up the mantel left by Sir. Paul McCartney (of Beatles fame).  Nigel even has one of the snow suites worn by Sir. Paul displayed at the exhibit. Nigel also shows a film documenting the expedition at the exhibit and you can see, for yourself, the trip he and his crew endured to show us the plight of the baby Harp Seal.

Sir Paul McCartney's snow gear

One of the most moving moments of Nigel’s tour of the exhibit is when he starts to explain the actually hunting of the seals.  Nigel did ask the young children to please leave this part of his presentation because of its graphic nature.  Nigel then picks up the actual tool (it looks like an axe with a gruesome hook at the end) used to hunt the innocent baby Harp Seal. At the end of the documentary there is also some footage of the hunting taking place.  I can not see anyone watching Nigel, or the film, and not be affect by the cruelty humans impart on an animal whose fur could easily be replace by the use of a synthetic material.

Nigel shows us the tool use to hunt seals

Hunting baby Harp Seals is illegal and its activities, and sale of the fur, has already been band in the US. With the continuing work of the Humane Society, the work of Nigel Barker, and with our help more and more nations will help to band baby Harp Seal hunting and then another of earth’s amazing creatures will be preserved and respected.

Nigel with John Grandy,Ph.D. of the Humane Society and Susan Tran

By providences we have been given the power to do this. I hope that we realize our duty and take care of our fellow creatures on this very rare planet of ours.  Thank you Nigel for using your art and influences to show us our responsibilities on this planet. We all should take Nigel’s example and be active in preserving the precious flora and fauna of our one and only home.      
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