SOCIAL ISSUES PHOTO CONTEST

   2014 Archive


FIRST PLACE WINNER

Kimberly Christensen
"Nancy Finds Ways to Use Her Hands"



Artist Statement:  “One of my friends has challenges every day in the world we live in.  She is proud of what she does.”

Social Photography Information:

This photograph was taken of a member of Spindleworks, a non profit  art center for adults with disabilities and a program of the Independence Association of Brunswick, Maine, whose mission is to help children and adults with disabilities achieve full and inclusive lives in their chosen community.  In the 1960s a group of parents created the association to “do what was right for our children.” It is that inaugural premise that continues to influence the core philosophy of Independence Association: the belief that persons with disabilities - - when given opportunities for individual choice, appropriate supports and community involvement - - can have full, rewarding lives as workers, students, artists, citizens, friends and neighbors.

“HANDICAP, I HEARD ABOUT IT BUT I AIN’T GOT IT NOW” This is probably one of the most famous lines written/spoken at Spindleworks, and so telling of the outlook of the artists here who break down stereotypes with their unique and wonderful view of the world and their expression of their place in it. Over 40 artists work in a variety of mediums, including painting and drawing, photography, ceramics and woodworking, weaving and other fiber and fabric arts. In addition, the artists write poetry and stories, and express themselves through acting and other performing arts. Their work has been exhibited widely, and they are well known and respected members of Maine’s artistic community.

About the Artist:  Kimberly Christensen is part of the Spindleworks nonprofit organization.  She has many interests, including being a talented weaver who creates scraves, bags, belts, and other textile arts.  Photography is a new medium for her and the program has added a darkroom for her.  She says:  “It’s like the world is different now.  I like photography because you never know exactly how a picture will come out.”

Copyright is not sold with this photograph.

Contact Kimberly through the organization at:  www.spindleworks.org; 207-725-8820 



FINALIST

Gabriella Chamberland
"You Git What You Git: Early Onset Disenchantment"



Artist Statement:  “I wish to highlight the detrimental effects of severe poverty on children and how society’s interaction with said children, based on their socio-economic upbringing, negatively impacts their own interpretation and understanding of themselves.”

Social Photography Information:

This photograph was taken at the South Park Housing Project in Charleston, West Virginia.  The public housing program offers tenants a home in communities managed by Charleston-Kanawha Housing. The rent they pay is based on 30% of their monthly-adjusted income and all basic utilities are paid. 

Public Housing in the U.S. was created under the Works Progress Administration (WPA) of the New Deal Program, which was implemented by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930s as an economic boost for the United States during the Great Depression. Many of the older projects from 1940 have been razed and replaced with newer approach to smaller cluster style projects rather than high density housing projects.  In the beginning, public housing was considered a viable solution to the problems associated with the growing urban slums, unemployment, and insufficient or inadequate housing. The current stigma associated with public housing or low income housing was not prevalent in the 1930s. However, as time progressed, "the projects" have developed a complicated and often notorious history.  Public housing increasingly has become the housing of last resort. Currently, more than 1.2 million households live in public housing of some type.

The social issue of concentrated poverty:  the average annual income for a resident of a public housing unit is $13,730, with 68% of residents as “Extremely Low Income,” with the largest annual income bracket being $5,000 to $10,000, containing 32% of public housing residents.  Trends of an increase in geographic concentration of poverty became evident by the 1970s as high and middle-class residents vacated property in U.S. cities. Urban renewal programs lead to widespread slum clearance, creating a need to house those displaced by the clearance. However, dominate culture resisted the creation of public housing units in middle and working class neighborhoods, leading to the construction of such units around ghetto neighborhoods which already exhibited signs of poverty. The three sources of concentrated poverty in relation to public housing: income-requirements structurally creating areas of poverty, the reinforcement of patterns of poverty via the location of the public housing units, and the migration of impoverished individuals towards the public housing.

About the Artist:  Gabriella Chamberland lives in Jersey City, New Jersey.  She feels that it is easy to discriminate against unknown persons, especially those in situations of severe poverty, and that a wall gets erected between the socio-economic peoples.  She wants to use photography as a way to enable people to understand their environment, magnify common human strands, and achieve one’s fullest potential.

Copyright is not sold with this photograph.

Contact:  chamberland.gabriella@gmail.com


FINALIST

Elizabeth Ridolfi
"Superfund"



Artist Statement:  “Before I saw the fence, the water looked so inviting.  Then my geology professor told me how toxic and acidic it was.  The clean-up of this Superfund site was stalled.”

Social Photography Information:

The 200-acre Sulphur Bank Mercury Mine (SBMM) site is an inactive mercury mine that is located on the shores of Clear Lake in Lake County, CA. The mine property includes a flooded open-pit mine and approximately 3,000,000 cubic yards of contaminated mine waste. The site also includes the contaminants from the mine that are now located in Clear Lake sediments, in the wetland to the north of the mine property, and at the Elem Indian Colony (EIC).

The EIC is located on approximately 50 acres of land directly adjacent to SBMM that have been placed into Trust status for the Elem Pomo Tribe. During construction of housing and the paved roadway system at the EIC in the 1970s, mine waste was used from the SBMM as fill on residential lots located on the western edge of the EIC, as road-base material on paved and unpaved roads throughout the EIC residential area, and as road-base material for the only paved access road to the EIC. The levels of mercury, antimony and arsenic present in EIC soils and in the exposed roadway shoulders exceed levels that are safe for residential and recreational use, based on EPA’s baseline risk assessment.

Cleanup Activities:  EPA listed the site on the National Priorities List.  In 2006 and 2007, EPA excavated and removed all mine wastes and contaminated soils that were located in the residential area at the EIC, and disposed of these contaminated materials in a secure location at the adjacent SBMM. EPA is currently evaluating long-term cleanup for the main mine property.

Recovery Act Project Activity: EPA  used the approximately $1 million in Recovery Act funding to start the cleanup of BIA 120 mine wastes in 2009. EPA's primary efforts will be planning and coordinating activities with the Elem Pomo Tribe; the procurement of a construction subcontractor; the initiation of work to provide temporary water supply, sewer service and access for EIC residents during the cleanup; and planning efforts to assure the early 2010 performance of mine waste excavation and disposal efforts.  To find out more about this Superfund site, go to: http://www.epa.gov/region09/SulphurBankMercury

About the Artist:  Elizabeth Ridolfi lives in Auburn, California and is a junior at UC Davis. She states:  “Though I am an Environmental Horticulture major, I use photography to document the natural world I see. All of my pictures were taken during field labs, the majority during a 6 week excursion to Bhutan I returned from in mid-July, 2014. Bhutan is a rapidly changing place with a pristine environment and a complex political and social future. I hoped to illuminate its complex social issues through my photography as well as environmental issues I have seen in the field at home. I have a full gallery of nature stills waiting for an audience.”

Copyright is not sold with photograph.

Contact:  elizabethridolfi1@gmail.com







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