Troubled Waters: a Special Feature of DOCUMERICA Photographs of Water Pollution.
Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water. -official tagline from the movie Jaws 2, 1978
Well, it’s Summer and all I can think about it going swimming in the ocean. I love a nice pool, but having grown up on the Georgia Coast near Savannah, cultivated my love for swimming in the ocean. I do it as often as I can, and each time I feel so thankful for clean, safe water to enjoy. When I began researching DOCUMERICA and saw so many horrible images of polluted water, I realized how blessed I was to have grown up in a place where clean water was and still is abundant. I’ve also recently become that 40-something guy who yells at kids who are wasting clean water. What’s wrong with kids today!?
Last week I was interviewed by Sarah Linn, journalist with The Tribune/SanLuisObispo.com about my DOCUMERICA research, and we talked a great deal about some of Arthur Tress’ photographs from that collection. When I think “filthy water”, I think of Tress’ photographs. They are, for me, the most shocking and disturbing images. They are so troubling to me because the depict what I image to be some of the worst examples of unchecked water pollution. It makes it worse to know that these polluted waters were so close to residential and recreation areas in the greater New York Harbor area. As you will see, in several of these examples, people were not afraid to be near of even swim in these contaminated bodies of water. After my interview with Sarah Linn, I was inspired to share a feature on the troubling images. You can find Sarah’s article about Arthur Tress here: http://bit.ly/MlXBax
Sharks were not the only dangerous agents in the waters around New York in the early 1970s. Forget the sharks! Humans were making it dangerous enough. So, when you go swimming this summer, watch where you step! Somebody’s rusted out ‘68 Volkswagen Bug might be right under foot!
Special note: Because they are equally horrifying, I’m including a number of Marc St. Gil’s photographs of Lake Charles, Louisiana. You’ll understand why when you see them.