The Stories TransCanada is afraid you’ll see – Energy East

Bob Smoker

Recently my work creating Along the Pipeline was singled out by TransCanada and their (former) PR firm Edelman as a threat to their Energy East project. The statement in question comes from a Reasearch Synthesis that was leaked to Greenpeace and can be found on page 11. It reads:

Image: Edelman Leak

I don’t know if I should be shocked or honoured that I seem to have the ability to ‘create an emotional response that can override logic and reasoning.’

Along the Pipeline has always been about the stories and opinions shared by people that I met on my journey. Along the way I encountered people that agreed with the project, disagreed with the project, and those that are still making up their minds.

Mike Gerbrandt

These documents clearly show that TransCanada was considering using deceitful tactics to attack environmental advocates, and also one of their key worries is the spread of real stories from real people. They would prefer to write the script for stories from a fabricated grassroots movement – with comments disabled – while attacking and silencing the voices and opinions of regular people along their pipeline route. It is clear that TransCanada is interested in pushing one-sided spin, and is not comfortable with an honest, open debate about impacts on communities and the climate.

Targeting artists that share real stories is the sign of a company that knows it’s losing its social license. If they can’t be trusted to engage in fair, democratic debate, can they be trusted to build a pipeline 4500km across Canada, over hundreds of waterways, enabling an explosion of tar sands growth? Or do we want a different future?

If you believe in the value of real stories then take a moment to watch and share this one from Nora Gould in Alberta.

If you believe that real voices should be heard and can help me continue this project, please donate below.

Published: Energy East Photography in Photo Life

The Dec/Jan issue of Photo Life Magazine features the Along the Pipeline project. Along the Pipeline is a portrait project that documents the people and communities along TransCanada’s proposed Energy East pipeline route.

It is great to see this article in Canada’s top photo magazine. It is important that this story reaches different audiences and I am thrilled with the job that the publishers did with the project. If you are in Canada go and pick up a copy from your local magazine store.

energy east photography

Along the Pipeline – A portrait project along the Energy East pipeline route published in Photo Life Magazine.

Along the Pipeline | Energy East Pipeline Photography

Energy East - Hardisty Tank Terminal

The Hardisty Tank Terminal, beginning of the proposed Energy East pipeline.

My latest photography project, Along the Pipeline, is underway. I am currently in Regina and I have been on the road for the last couple of weeks. My journey has taken me from Hardisty in Alberta and will continue to the East Coast of Canada. I have been photographing the individuals and the route of the proposed Energy East pipeline to find out what it means to Canadians and First Nations. It has been a great experience. I have met ranchers, farmers, oil workers, and foreign workers.

Energy East Photography

Photo session at the Gould Ranch in Alberta.

 

The project focuses on a series of large format portraits created on a 4×5 film camera. Each image will eventually be combined with a quote or little anecdote from that individual explaining their position on the pipeline and the future of Canada.

I hope that the photographs will create a journal and record of some of the people along the route and how they will be affected. You can follow all of the updates and the journey at my sister website, AlongthePipeline.com. From here I will keep moving east.

 Energy East Photography

Pat Wheeler, Hardisty, Alberta

Along the Pipeline – Serge Simon from Kanesatake

Serge Simon is the elected chief of the Mohawk Nation in Kanesatake, Quebec. In the following multimedia piece he talks about the his opposition to the Energy East Pipeline. He discusses climate change and the potential impact on the water that the pipeline will have.

Please follow along with developing journey at alongthepipeline.com.

Best viewed full screen.

Along the Pipeline | Serge Simon, Grand Chief Kanesatake, Quebec from Robert van Waarden on Vimeo.

Along the Pipeline Crowdfunder Launched

A few hours ago I launched my first crowdfunding campaign. Although crowd funding has been an innovative way for photographers and creatives to fund their projects for several years, I have been waiting for the right project. Finally, I believe I have a project that warrants reaching out and asking for the support of all of you in my community. I am looking for supporters that believe that culture and art have an important role to play in building a better world. If that sounds like you and you know already that you want to join me on this journey, then please visit the campaign at igg.me/at/climate to donate or continue reading below.

Image: Map
Courtesy of Environmental Defence

The Impact

The proposed Energy East pipeline would transport 1.1 million barrels of diluted bitumen a day from the oil sands of Alberta to St. John. It would cross hundreds of waterways and drinking water supplies and would be responsible for greenhouse gas emissions that would equal 7 million new cars on the road.

Along the Pipeline is a journey along the route to share the untold story of what the pipeline will really mean for Canadians and First Nations. How will they be impacted, what do they value, what does the future of Canada look like to them? When finished, the resulting exhibit will allow people to recognize themselves and their communities in the faces of others and realize that they are not alone in desiring a better future.

How You Can Help

I have partnered with a few NGOs in Canada and they are providing some seed funding but not enough. That is why I am launching this campaign to try and raise $10,000. I need funding for basic items like transportation, fuel, food, and critically an assistant. I want to hire an assistant to help with the social media, documentation, the logistics and of course the driving so I don’t fall asleep at the wheel.

If you want join me on this journey than please visit igg.me/at/climate to donate to this project. After donating please take one minute to share this project on FacebookTwitter and forward this email to your friends and challenge them to match you.

I understand if you can’t donate. You can still help out by sharing this project on FacebookTwitter or forwarding this email to people you think might be interested.

What You Get

Besides my eternal gratitude and that fuzzy feeling that comes with supporting a project, I have compiled some really exciting (I think) perks for your support. Visit igg.me/at/climate to find out more about prints or mystery postcards.

Thanks once again for reading and I hope to hear from you on the route.

 (Robert van Waarden)

Near the route on the Ontario/Quebec border

A portrait, CBC and copyright

 

Every photographer at some point deals with copyright infringement. It is an unpleasant reality of putting your images on the web. That said, it will never cease to surprise me as I scan through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn to find one of my images staring back at me with no clue how it got there.

It happened today.  Scanning my social media I came across this image of Lionel Lepine, an amazing AFCN activist and friend, headlining an article on Neil Young’s upcoming benefit tour on the CBC News site. The CBC is a respected outlet in Canada and I was especially surprised to see that they had credited the image to one ‘Richard van Waarden’.

After allowing myself sufficient time to process the annoyance, it was a question of finding a solution. This time it was easy. I called another photographer credited in the article and got the email of the producer. I sent an email highlighting my concerns and my fee and within minutes, yes minutes, the producer was on the phone. They apologized, admitted they had screwed up, changed the credit immediately and asked for an invoice.

It is never pleasant to have to deal with copyright infringement, either from a photographer side or from a producer side. However in my experience if dealt with intelligently a solution can usually be found that is acceptable to both parties. See the updated article here. 

 

 

Screen Shot 2014-01-12 at 3.40.17 PM

Front Lines – Climate Justice Struggle in Durban

While world leaders discuss solutions to the climate crisis at the United Nations Conference of Parties in Durban, South Africa, the South Durban community is on the front line of the climate justice struggle.

Front Lines – Climate Justice Struggle in Durban from Robert van Waarden on Vimeo.

Little Black Lies in Calgary – a Tar Sands Talk by Jeff Gailus

I little black lieshave teamed up with Canadian author Jeff Gailus for his Tar Sands talk, Little Black Lies, tomorrow night in Calgary, Canada. During Jeff’s talk my photographs from the Tar Sands will be playing in the background.

If you are in Calgary tomorrow, join Jeff Gailus as he explores the intersection of two of the most salient features of the early twenty-first century: the explosion of tar sands development and the ubiquity of hogwash. The two, he posits, are companions of sorts, each engaged in a symbiotic dance that allows them both to thrive—to the detriment of our moral and social well being.

Jeff is the author of the Grizzly Manifesto and a Fellow of the International League of Conservation Writers. I am very happy to join forces with him as he exposes the ridiculous ‘ethical oil’ argument put forward by the government. Join him tomorrow at the Calgary Chapter of The Council of Canadians, 7:30 – 9:30 p.m.  Doors open at 7, Unitarian Church – 1703 1st St. N.W.



1500 Scouts gather for 10:10 Climate Aerial Photo

This past Saturday, in the little town of Vlaardingen near Rotterdam, an estimated 1500 Scouts gathered to create this aerial image of 10:10. The event was organized by JMA (Jongeren Milieu Actief) in Amsterdam. This is arguably the largest 10:10 image ever recorded and was a lot of fun to create, (at 20 meters in the air). The image reminds us of the goal to stop climate change by reducing emissions by 10% in 2010. It is important that we to get to work during and after the Global Work Party on October 10, 2010.

What are you planning for 10:10? If you are in the Netherlands, check out this site.

In Amsterdam on October 10 a series of workshops will be held at the Dok Huis Gallery @ Plantage Doklaan 8 Amsterdam. Currently the prospective line up is below. If you want to get involved in helping plan either of these workshops or just want to come along, contact me.

  • In the POWER workshops, participants will gain practical skills in how to create electric power off the grid.
  • In the ART workshops, participants will utilise recycled/waste/sustainable materials to create quality art works.
  • In the MUSIC workshops, participants will create instruments with recycled/waste materials.
  • In the LIFE workshops, participants will learn how to create sustainable urban gardens and do some shared vegetarian cooking.

10:10 the netherlands aerial image

Tar Sands and the First Nations – Selects

The crux of any environmental industrial development is the relationship between people on the land and the newly manufactured landscape. Rarely has the coverage of the Tar Sands in Northern Alberta gone beyond environmental impact and touched on the story of the impact on First Nations culture. Yet, this development is having a profound affect on the lifestyle of the indigenous peoples of the region.

Fort Chipewyan is experiencing elevated levels of cancer believed to be caused by toxins in the Athabasca from major industrial developments upstream. On the other hand, communities have gained employment. What does the boom mean for quality of life, how does it relate to cultural heritage of the indigenous, and what cost or benefit is this project having on the indigenous cultures of Northern Alberta?

The following images are the initial selects from an Audio/Visual project that attempts to answer some of these questions.


Tar Sands – Selects from Indigenous Project in Northern Alberta – Images by Robert vanWaarden