Marcus Yam / The Los Angeles Times
Marcus Yam / The Los Angeles Times
Oded Balilty / Associated Press
Nadia Aly
Jan and Tim Edler / realities:united

The Four Elements: Ancient civilizations believed that the natural world was entirely composed of just four elements: Water, Earth, Air, and Fire. The images of photographers and artists Nadia Aly, Oded Balilty, realities:united, and Marcus Yam reveal the vibrant life in our waters, the beauty of reclamation, a proposal to create art out of industry, and fire’s double-edged power to nurture and destroy.

Artist Bios

  • Nadia Aly

    Nadia Aly is an award-winning wildlife photographer based in California. She focuses on underwater marine life, and is the owner of—an online news portal for scuba diving and ocean conservation enthusiasts. Her primary goal is to educate people globally about the diverse populations of sea creatures that exist in our oceans. Aly holds a master’s in digital media from the Centre for Digital Media in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

  • Oded Balilty

    Oded Balilty is a Pulitzer Prize-winning Israeli photographer born and raised in Jerusalem. He began his career as a photographer for the Israeli army magazine Bamahane. In 2002, he joined the Associated Press and in 2007, he won the Pulitzer Prize for his photograph of a lone Jewish settler confronting Israeli security officers during the evacuation of a West Bank settlement outpost. He is the first and only Israeli photographer to receive the Pulitzer Prize. From 2007-2008, he was based in Beijing. Balilty lives in Tel Aviv and photographs current events and documentary features in Israel, the Palestinian Territories, and around the world. Besides his photojournalism, his fine art photography is exhibited in galleries throughout Europe and Israel.

  • realities:united

    realities:united was founded in 2000 by Jan and Tim Edler, as an interdisciplinary studio for art and architecture. In 2003, they achieved international fame with BIX—the light and media facade of the Kunsthaus Graz. The two brothers are also the initiators of Flussbad Berlin, an urban development project funded by the federal and state governments for the collective use of the Spree Canal in central Berlin, whose seemingly utopian approach has caused controversy. Since 2000, they have been executing projects primarily in collaboration with other architects and artists. These include building projects with Peter Cook and Colin Fournier in Graz, EM2 N in Zurich, Moon Hoon in Singapore, and Will Alsop in Toronto. The brothers’ work originates at the intersection of art and architecture—between experimental and technical realization.

  • Marcus Yam

    Marcus Yam (Fire) is a roving Los Angeles Times foreign correspondent and photojournalist. Born and raised in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, he left a career in aerospace engineering to become a photographer. His goal: to take viewers to the frontlines of human conflict, struggle, and intimacy. His approach is deeply rooted in curiosity and persistence. In 2019, Yam was awarded the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Journalism Award for his unflinching body of work documenting the everyday plight of Gazans during deadly clashes in the Gaza Strip. He was also part of two Pulitzer Prize-winning breaking news teams that covered the San Bernardino, California terrorist attacks in 2015 for the Los Angeles Times, and the deadly landslide in Oso, Washington in 2014 for the Seattle Times. 

    His previous work has earned an Emmy Award for News and Documentary, a World Press Photo Award, a DART Award for Trauma Coverage, a Scripps Howard Visual Journalism Award, a Picture of the Year International’s Newspaper Photographer of the Year Award, the Society of Professional Journalists’ Sigma Delta Chi Award, a National Headliner Award, and an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award. When he’s not working, Yam likes minimizing and organizing his life for efficiency and for emergencies.


  • Visual Thinking Collective

    Visual Thinking Collective

    The Visual Thinking Collective is a group of creative, independent women committed to supporting photography and storytelling. Founded in 2020, the collective is focused on collaboration, education, and mentorship with the goal of contributing to the continued advancement of the visual community.

The Four Elements

 archive : 2021

Featuring: Nadia Aly Oded Balilty realities:united Marcus Yam

Curated by: Elizabeth Krist

Presented by: Visual Thinking Collective
  • Visual Thinking Collective

Supported by:

  • Photoville
  • Phillip and Edith Leonian Foundation


View Location Details Brooklyn Bridge Park – Empire Fulton Ferry Lawn

1 Water Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Number 11 on the official photoville map Click to download this year's map

This location is part of Brooklyn Bridge Park
Explore other locations and exhibitions nearby

Photographs and art by:

Nadia Aly

Oded Balilty / Associated Press

Jan and Tim Edler / realities:united

Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times

Work selected by: Visual Thinking Collective: Lauren Steel (Water), Sarah Leen (Earth), Shannon Simon (Air), and Elizabeth Krist (Fire)

This website was made possible thanks to the generous support and partnership of Photowings