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El Niño. Photo Gallery at UN Diario

In September 2015, the people of Pacasmayo were bracing themselves for a the next possible El Niño phenomenon. At UN Diario, images of the last "big hit" were available in the archives and we thought it would be valuable to refresh people's minds of the devastating effects it can have when not prepared.

About the Website

The landing page designed for the gallery was a one pager that included a preview of the images that would be displayed in the gallery. For design, as well as copyright protection, the images received an effect reminiscent of old CRT monitor artifacts along with an exagerated sepia tone overlay and desaturation. See example below:

Comparison of effects applied to photograph

The information in the page sits behind the two buttons in the lower left corner and was designed to be presented as if the buttons transformed to take up the entire viewport. This was based on the Morphing Button created by the (always inspiring) Codrops team.

Button transformation demonstration

There's a very subtle audio track playing in the background of rain that and storm. The track is Long Silence at Top and was provided by the YouTube Audio Library; this can be controlled by a small button on the bottom right corner.

About the Gallery

The gallery would be presented in this open space that once hosted the large newspaper Linotype machines. We had to work with an industrial like ceiling held in place by construction iron rods. In these cases the best option is of course to lean into it and hope for the best. So we took a very rustic approach where possible, relying on barriers made from wood and thick twine rope, for the lights we designed these pallet-like fixtures that were suspended in the same construction iron rods.

Rustic style barriers made from wood and rope to guide the public through the floating gallery
Detail photo of the pallet like light fixtures made to hold the bulbs
Test of the light fixtures.

For the selection of images, we went through the photo archives finding those that best presented the many aspects that take place in events such as El Niño. We found all kinds of photographs from the truly terrifying, to the historic, to the comic ones that provided hope in spite of the situation. Due to the lack of a scanner, the photos were photographed with a DSLR. This actually resulted in high resolution images with —despite the best efforts to avoid it— small signs of lens blur; which actually gave a more organic feel to some of the photos.

Photographs from archive were scanned by taking a high resolution photo
Multiple photos lined up for selection and sorting.

After selection and sorting of the photographs, these were glued to custom two-sided frames made of a piece of red foam sandwiched between two white pasteboards. This gave a subtle hint of the brand behind the gallery and helped the frames stand out. This would be essential as, late in the game, we decided to come up with a floating gallery...

Photo of the stack of custom frames made
Detail photo of the hand made hangers used to hold the photographs.

Contrary to our initial schematics —where we intended to build divisions in the room, for a corridor like experience— the floating gallery turned out to be a fantastic idea not only because of the layering effect it created but it also allowed this very open space to exist where people could interact more freely. The frames were hanged with wire rope and small clamps that were cut and fitted for the gallery.

Wide view of the center of the gallery
Photo of the images hanged in the gallery showing the layering effect created
Photo of the opening day with multiple people navigating the gallery
Photo from a low angle displaying the twists and turns created by the gallery.

The design of the gallery was an incredible collaboration with my brother in law, Elias, who is always ready to take an idea and make it happen. Without him I may have hesitated too much to see this project through. I also owe my sister, MC, a huge thanks for giving me the freedom to bring in so many different ideas into this project.

Other Printed Material

Banners was designed to help give information and context to the public. Use the following link to download and view the banners.