In the Air
Garrett Hardin coined the term Tragedy of the Commons, in which entities act in self-interest at the expense of the many. Some examples include overhunting, overfishing, and overgrazing. Air pollution falls in this category; its generation can come from concentrated sources, yet it affects everyone.
For this project I photograph airborne particles, including byproducts of conservation, energy production, natural disasters, and agriculture. While there is often a disproportionate impact at the local level, this is not a local phenomenon; particles can travel a few feet, a few miles, or circle the earth. Despite their tiny size, they have serious repercussions including respiratory problems and death.
Air seems invisible; however, it is a thriving ecosystem teeming with solids, liquids, and gases. With this work I am exploring what goes into the air, where it travels, and the impact it has. I am interested in protections that are in place, ones that are needed, and ones that are being removed. During research into this project, I was astonished to discover that we breathe in almost 3,000 gallons of air a day. The goals of this work are to raise awareness, to make the invisible visible, and to make the ephemeral permanent.
Thank you to the Jentel Artist Residency for their support of this work. I shot, edited, and printed much of this project while in residence there during the summer of 2017.
Thank you to Iowa State University for their grant support through the Center for Excellence in the Arts and Humanities.
Thank you to Iowa Lakeside Lab for their support. In 2018, I photographed, recorded audio, and shot video of prescribed burns for this project during a two-week residency.