PhotoSummer: Artist's Statement

Christine Carr

In the Air

For this project I photographed airborne particles, including byproducts of conservation, energy production, natural disasters, and agriculture. These 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 thinking about what goes into the air, where it travels, and the impact it has. I am curious about 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.

The theme of this call resonated for me as it mentions that photography can “aid in the telling of important truths.” The point of this project is to combat invisibility-both to make the problem of air pollution more visible and also to raise awareness about the widespread, yet underdiscussed air pollution crisis. Laws such as the Clean Air Act have made tremendous improvements in the quality of our air. Unfortunately, the current trend is to relax or repeal policies that affect our health, despite evidence of the potential damage. In the context of The Big Reveal, this project counters the current environmental policy rollbacks that occur by ignoring the existing science or by catering to lobbyists who sow doubt about established, peer-reviewed studies.