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Shades of Compassion

Exhibition of Forty-One International Photographers

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Participating photographers: Ansel Adams, Wolf Ademeit, Carol Beckwith & Angela Fisher, Daniel Beltra, Niki Boon, Phil Borges, Nick Brandt, Ernest H. Brooks II,  Kevin Bubriski, Tom Chambers, Imogen Cunningham, Virgil Dibiase, Tj Dixon & James Nelson, Melinda Hurst Frye, Maurizio Gjivovich, David Gonzalez, Misha Gordin, Robert & Shana Parke Harrison, Michael Kenna, Angela Bacon Kidwell, Marla Klein, Jon Kolkin, Lisa Kristine, Joey Lawrence, Ruth Lauer Manenti, Rania Matar, Beth Moon, Nasa / William Anders, Wayne Quilliam, Chris Rainier, Antonio Aragon Renuncio, Manjari Sharma, Maggie Taylor, Joyce Tenneson, Jerry Uelsmann, Dave Walsh, Alice Zilberberg and Zoe Zimmerman.

"Nurtured" © Jon Kolkin

Compassion--defined as the intention to respond with kindness towards those in need, including all living things, one’s self, and Planet Earth, motivated by a true concern for their well-being--is good for you, for everyone you come in contact with, and the the entire planet. The exhibition Shades of Compassion will guide you to intentionally evoke and sustain positive constructive emotions such as compassion.

"Ship of Fools" © Maggie Taylor

Curated to engender a nuanced experience of compassion, the exhibition invites the viewer to dig deeper in their understanding of compassion, an opportunity for growth and exploration. The photographs, fifty outstanding fine art photographs by forty-one internationally recognized photographers, are sequenced and organized into three thematic groups: Environment, Humanity and Spirituality.

"Dance of our Ancestors" © Wayne Quilliam

Meditation stations preceding and following the photographs, as well as six intervening Pause Stations, invite deeper exploration into specific images. The exhibition concludes with an Action Station where visitors are invited to express their intentions concerning acts of compassion, and take away reminders and additional online resources for continued growth and exploration.


Materials for the self guided Pause Stations and the facilitated curriculum were created under the guidance of leading experts, include senior MoMA and Minneapolis Institute of Art educators, Emory University’s Social, Emotional, and Ethical (SEE) Learning program for K-12, and Life University’s Compassionate Integrity Training (CIT) for adults. 

The Science of Compassion

A growing body of scientific research suggests humans are genetically hardwired to be compassionate. Additionally, studies reveal that with practice we can increase our ability to be compassionate, resulting in substantial benefit to both the giver and receiver.


From a physiological perspective, evidence suggests compassion suppresses the production of the stress hormone cortisol while stimulating the secretion of the ‘feel good’ hormones oxytocin and dopamine. This chemical shift may combat depression, PTSD, eating disorders, social isolation, empathic fatigue and burnout, while contributing to greater happiness, well-being and a sense of purpose.


Our bodies also benefit. Compassion can bolster our immune system, reduce the severity of certain diseases, improve sleep and may even cause structural changes in a section of our genes that contribute to longevity.


Furthermore, compassion is infectious, often motivating others to become more compassionate. Research also suggests that when faced with injustice, compassion is a much healthier, more sustainable and more effective catalyst for social change than anger or hate.

Watch: An interview with Dr. Jon Kolkin on the SJIMA Photography Exhibit 'Shades of Compassion'

Watch: Dr. Jon Kolkin, Practical Strategies for Living a Balanced Life Guided by Compassion and Wisdom

Watch: The Art of Compassion--Giving, Receiving, & Lessons Learned - a Symposium at SJIMA - April 27, 2024


Curated by photokunst LLC

Shades of Compassion Sponsor: Anonymous

Spring Show In-Kind Sponsors: Browne’s Home Center, Printonyx, and Harbor Rental

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