Photographer Rachelle Hajjar presents a series of images highlighting the beauty of our natural world, explaining why we should all take a moment to escape, and appreciate the world around us.

The L’îlot d’oxygène exhibition will be held at L’ilot Corse, in Brussels from 1-30 April. Visit rachellehajjar.com for more details.

April 2022 marks two years since the start of the health crisis, during which people’s lives and freedoms have been turned upside down. Committed to climate, environmental and social action, Rachelle Hajjar wanted to create something that allowed people time to take a break, breath in some fresh air, thank nature for what it provides us, and grant a moment of meditation and reflection.

The emergence of zoonotic diseases such as HIV or COVID-19 – which are transmitted from animals to humans – can be compared to the increased pressure on the planet – particularly its resources and fertile land. Clearing wildlands brings us physically closer to wildlife and more rarely encountered species, and therefore to the diseases they carry. The greater the interactions between humans, livestock and wildlife, the greater the potential for a new pandemic to emerge.

We also realized how vulnerable we were to global shocks, with the ensuing health and economic crisis having wide-ranging effects on people across the planet. On the other hand, it has allowed us to ask ourselves what is really important, in particular our health, family, clean air, and nature. Finding ways to contain or cure viruses will require the best of human innovation and modern technology, but ensuring we live in balance with our natural environment is the first step to helping us keep both our planet and ourselves healthy.

This series of photos of various natural landscapes was built over Rachelle’s travels around the world, spread over a period of 10 years. She wanted to immortalize the beauty and diversity of nature, to understand local specificities and environmental needs and connections. But she also wanted to see how they are interconnected, bigger parts of ‘nature’, governed by the same natural rules.

Black and white – Austria. Photo: Rachelle Hajjar
Green mountains – Colombia. Photo: Rachelle Hajjar
House in snow – Slovakia
Rocks in water – Croatia. Photo: Rachelle Hajjar
Colorful tree – France. Photo: Rachelle Hajjar