Wildflowers in My Hair, 2023 Omo Valley, Ethiopia
Lady with the Goose
Lady With the Goose II, 2006 Yunnan Province, China

CHICAGO – Hilton Contemporary (716 N. Wells) announced a specially curated exhibition of images from the archives of acclaimed Mexico-born environmental photographer, author, filmmaker and marine biologist Cristina Mittermeier. HOPE: A PRELUDE will be the inaugural exhibition for BEAUTIFUL BRILLIANCE, an ongoing series of shows exemplifying the work of women who are highly intelligent AND considered beautiful.

The inspiration for this exhibition came about when Arica Hilton, CEO and founder of Hilton Contemporary, discovered the secret life of the glamorous Hollywood legend, Hedy Lamarr. In the 1940’s and 1950’s, Lamarr was considered the most beautiful woman in the world, but very few knew of her scientific and mathematical mind and the numerous patents she held for her inventions.

During WWII, Lamarr co-invented frequency hopping technology for the United States Navy, who took her patent, hid it away in a vault and rejected her offer. It was not until her 80’s that she was finally publicly recognized for her achievements. Her groundbreaking technology became the foundation for WiFi, GPS, Bluetooth and cell phones. One of the most brilliant minds of the 20th century, she was marginalized because of her gender and physical beauty. Today, Hedy Lamarr is known as the Mother of WiFi. Her story was the impetus to find other women whose intellect was overshadowed by their physical beauty.

“We did not have to look far,” states Hilton, of artist Cristina Mittermeier. Born in Mexico City, she graduated from the ITESM University in Mexico with a degree in Biochemical Engineering in Marine Sciences. Hailed as one of the most influential conservation photographers of our time, Mittermeier has dedicated her life to protecting the world’s oceans, our largest ecosystem – inspiring millions of people to do the same.
Using the direct language of photography, Mittermeier opens a portal to help people become aware of the fragility of our ecosystem. Her photographs remind us that human beings are not isolated creatures, but members of an interconnected society. Using our planet’s limited resources wisely is imperative for our future. We need to understand that the health of the oceans has a direct impact on our climate, the air we breathe and the food we eat. Every community on Earth is part of the global ecosystem and the choices we make today can collectively shape the future of our planet.

Mittermeier’s latest book, “HOPE”, with an introduction written by Robert Redford, “is a manifesto of human interrelationship with Nature and gives a gentle and optimistic perspective on the environmental issues.” ~PhotoVogue Magazine “Just like Dr. Martin Luther King didn’t start his famous civil rights speech by saying, ‘I have a nightmare,’ states Mittermeier, “the only way to tackle the environmental crises is by painting a picture of what our dream should be. Let’s dream about a future where our planet is healthy and alive, not apocalyptic and dying. Articulating an idea through nature photography of what the future could look like if we prioritize the protection of nature is the perfect antidote to disillusionment.”

With over 1.6 million followers on Instagram, Mittermeier uses social media to not only present her stories, but to also feature works that interpret and translate images aiming to investigate contemporary life.

HOPE: A PRELUDE: at Hilton Contemporary July 12 – August 30, 2024

About Cristina Goettsch Mittermeier

Mexico City-born Cristina Goettsch Mittermeier, who dedicates her photography towards the conservation movement, is an adventurer, conservationist, writer, photographer and marine biologist who for the past 25 years has been globally recognized as one of the most influential wildlife writers and conservationists.

Mittermeier, a Rolex Brand Ambassador, has received accolades of the highest esteem, including the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year Award, and was named one of National Geographic’s 2018 Adventurers of the Year.

As a ‘National Geographic Woman of Impact’, Mittermeier has worked in more than 100 countries on every continent in the world, reaching an estimated 2.5 billion people and sparking global conversations about climate change.

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