In 1994 over 1000 people from the Netherlands gathered to protest the expansion of Schiphol airport in Amsterdam. They planted trees in the planned path of the new fifth runway forcing Schiphol to reconsider and move the runway. Although the protest was eventually unsuccessful in halting the construction, those trees grew into a forest known today as the Bulderbos (roaring forest).
This constructed landscape is a lasting symbol of people putting environment over development. The small photo series brings the Bulderbos into the homes of five key supporters and tree planters nearly 20 years later.
I was recently in Monument Valley in Arizona and I created these two drastically different images of the landscape with the mittens. Photographed only 50m apart, these two images raise several questions about composition, viewer opinion and human impact on our environment. I want to know which image you prefer. Image #1: The Cedar Log and Mittens or Image #2: The Parking Lot.
Which one do you prefer and why? Leave your comment below.
My photography essay on the Irish Moss Industry on Prince Edward Island, Canada, appears this month in Canadian Geographic.
The story behind these photographs begins one blustery morning when the rain was pelting my tent whilst camping with family and friends. The dawn brought with it a slew of men and horses, crawling the North Cape beach and collecting the ‘blessing from the sea’. The photography that day was moody and dramatic as exhausted horses and jubilant men played in the stormy waves. The seawater dripped off their backs, no damper to the joy brought by the bounty the sea had bestowed upon them.
This led me to investigate further. I met Carl Doucette, a brick of a man who has spent over 50 years raking the moss off the sea bed. His arms are testament to the physical labour that has defined his life and his spirit is calming. Having spent so much time on the water, Carl’s is a man comfortable with his place in the world. We sat in his kitchen drinking coffee and tears filled his eyes as he recounted his story about the decline of his industry and his uncertain future.
Heading out on the water with Carl that afternoon will remain one of those memorable experiences as a photographer. The sun glinted off the waves and the moss raked from the sea quickly piled up in the boat. I tried my own hand at raking in the moss and was quickly reminded why Carl’s arms were small trees. It was an honour to spend time with Carl and I am indebted to his story and time for making this essay possible.
My thanks also goes out to the folks at Shea’s Irish Moss Plant in Anglo Tignish. They were kind enough to allow me to work with them for a few hours and photograph their dusty, cavernous operation. They bale the moss into packages that weigh over 120 lbs, (as eagerly demonstrated to me by Rodney, the strong man in the operation).
It was a pleasure to put this essay together. Now go out to your nearest newsstand (in Canada) and buy the issue to see the images.