I was honored last week to present some of my photography for a class, ‘Resilience: Through the Lens’ to community photographers in Buffalo, NY.
The largest Ayoreo concentration camp is Campo Lorro, Paraguay. photo: Langelle
‘Resilience: Through the Lens’ was organized by Rebecca Newberry, the Executive Director of The Clean Air Coalition of Western New York, and Lauren Tent, the Education Director for the CEPA Gallery | Contemporary Photography and Visual Arts Center. My presentation to the class was held on October 4, 2018 at the CEPA Gallery.
Woman and daughter walking—another way out of Amador Hernandez is to walk the fifteen kilometers. The community was slated for forced relocation but resisted. photo: Langelle
I’m a member of CEPA and a co-recipient of Gallery’s 2017 Member’s Exhibition Award (please see the bottom of this post for further information regarding that exhibition and my subsequent solo show at CEPA’s Flux Gallery).
Although part of my presentation concerned my national and international photography that I have used to expose social, economic and ecological injustice, my main focus was my work with people of different communities. I showed photographs of the first concentration camp of Ayoreo Indigenous Peoples in Paraguay (above left), resistance in Amador Hernandez, an Indigenous village in the jungle of Mexico’s state of Chiapas (second above left) and most recently a detailed look into my work with Union Hill, a historic Black community founded by Freedmen and slaves.
Two members of the Union Hill community in Buckingham County, Virginia read a list of who was buried in this basically unmarked slave and Freedmen cemetery. The cemetery was hidden for many years. The list also contained the amount slave traders sold people to slave owners. photo: Langelle
The community of Union Hill is fighting the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and a 55,000 horsepower compressor station planned by Dominion Energy. There are Freedmen and slave unmarked burial sites on or near the site where Dominion wants to build the compressor station.
Local residents see Dominion Energy’s disregard for their community as part of an established pattern of environmental racism in Virginia. The African American community fighting the Atlantic Coast Pipeline is a strong and proud community.
While at the burial site in Union Hill (above right) I was allowed to capture the intense feelings of the people present. To all it was a sad moment but, also a sense of closure to know where their ancestors are buried.
I discussed the impact that my photos and strategic communications had – and are still having.
This was no doubt one of my best experiences in sharing my images that are meant to foster social change while documenting history. The attendees at CEPA asked very pertinent questions and we engaged in an inspiring dialogue about photography and social change.
More on Orin Langelle and CEPA
On January 27, 2017 the CEPA Gallery (Contemporary Photography & Visual Arts Center) opened its yearly CEPA Gallery Members’ Exhibition. CEPA Gallery’s 2017 Members’ Exhibition featured the photography and photo-related work of some of Western New York’s most talented artists.
Photographers Natalie Dilenno and Orin Langelle received the 2017 Exhibition Awards.
The Exhibition Awards provided both Langelle and Dilenno to have solo exhibits at the CEPA Gallery in 2018.
Langelle’s Portraits of Struggle was his solo show at CEPA’s Flux gallery that opened in January 2018. It was well attended.
Ray Luc Lavasseur who co-founded United Freedom Front, was convicted for organizing a series of bombings to protest South African apartheid, which he helped carry out from 1976 to 1984. He was transferred to the Colorado supermax prison ADX Florence in 1995 – the land alongside it was known to contain toxic nuclear waste. photo: Orin Langelle
This photograph [see Note below] of Ray Luc Lavasseur that I took was part of an article written by Michael Waters and published in The Outline.
How Prisons are Poisoning Their Inmates
Hundreds of U.S. prisons and ICE detention centers are built on toxic sites, and people inside are getting sick.
By Michael Waters JUL—23—2018
A week after Richard Mosley arrived as an inmate at Pennsylvania’s maximum-security SCI Fayette prison in 2008, he started getting sick. The air outside was so contaminated that his nose kept closing up. Then came the weight loss, followed by the gastrointestinal problems. Pretty soon, Mosley was relying on asthma masks to breathe. “I was going back and forth to medical trying to get some kind of relief or diagnosis,” he told The Outline. “I think I went maybe 35, 40 times.”
Meanwhile, Mosley started writing letters to local officials three days per week. “I was making a big stink,” he said. “If I was going to die there, I wasn’t going to die quietly.” He knew something was wrong. All around him, inmates were suffering. Skin rashes, gastrointestinal problems, and breathing issues were common across the prison. Everyone had a runny nose. The water quality was so abhorrent that guards brought bottled water for their onsite patrol dogs, according to Mosley. But the inmates still had to drink from the tap.
[Note] This was the second of a series of candid portraits of radical movement figures I took in collaboration with Burning Books. The point of this endeavor is to document some of the people who have participated in the making of history as part of the ongoing struggle for freedom and justice – a history of victories, losses, mistakes and successes, that we can and should learn from.
Clearcut area of forest by Dominion Energy for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. This cut is near Wintergreen Resort, a four-season mountain resort on the eastern slopes of the Blue Ridge Mountains, located in Nelson County, Virginia. photo: Orin Langelle
Ernie Reed, from the Nelson County District Board of Supervisors, gave Dr. Mary Finley-Brook and me a tour of some of the sites where the Atlantic Coast Pipeline would go through Nelson County. Dr. Mary Finley-Brook serves on the Virginia Governor’s Advisory Council on Environmental Justice and is a professor of geography and the environment at the University of Richmond.
This photo was taken close to where a drill would bore beneath the Appalachian Mountain National Scenic Trail and the Blue Ridge Parkway through the mountain gap between Three Ridges Wilderness (George Washington National Forest) and Devil’s Knob (at Wintergreen Resort). The mountain consists of greenstone and granite. The bore would be over 4,200 feet long and 46 inches in diameter for a 42” pipeline that would contain fracked natural gas at a pressure of 1440 pounds per square inch.
Dr. Finley-Brook (left) and Ernie Reed (right) by a solar powered USGS Water Quality monitoring Station in Nelson County, VA. Photo: Orin Langelle
The drill is estimated to require almost 30 million gallons of potable water. The polluted water and residue from the drilling then must be contained, transferred to tanker trucks and trucked to a waste disposal site, yet to be determined. Nelson County has declined an offer from Dominion to purchase this water and a source for it is yet to be determined
Although the ACP has not yet received final approval, Dominion Energy is clearing some corridors of forest where they have purchased easements through the threat of eminent domain. This clearcutting is considered a “preconstruction activity” by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
If constructed the Atlantic Coast Pipeline would be 604 miles long and cross West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina. Approximately 300 miles of the pipeline would run through forested land.
1 Minute Video: Atlantic Coast Pipeline Project could destroy Forests, Waterbodies, etc.
This video footage is from JR Chopper and other credits are listed at the end of this short clip. While I did not take photos for this clip, I am working on a documentary photo essay of the ACP and I did help in production of this clip.
The struggle against the pipeline has called into question many different practices by Dominion Energy regarding environmental, racial and class injustices. – Orin Langelle
PREMIER EXHIBIT @ CEPA: CONTEMPORARY PHOTOGRAPHY & VISUAL ARTS CENTER
January 26 – February 24, 2018 at CEPA’s FLUX Gallery (1st Floor), 617 Main Street, Buffalo, NY 14203
Shut out – Indigenous Peoples’ protest at United N Climate Conference. (Bali, Indonesia 2007)
CEPA Gallery is pleased to present, Portraits of Struggle, a selection of photographs spanning four decades by award winning photographer and activist Orin Langelle. Continued on CEPA’sPortraits of Struggle page.
¡Buen Vivir! Gallery for Contemporary Art announces a special Artist’s Talk for the show Climate Change, System Change, Personal Change by artist Ashley Powell on First Friday, April 1 at 7 p.m. The gallery is located at 148 Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo, NY’s Allentown District.
Artist’s Talk: Powell will discuss her work and its relation to environmental racism, a topic of special relevance right now in light of the rising awareness of rising rates of lead poisoning in poor children and children of color in Flint Michigan, as well as right here in Buffalo. Powell’s installation challenges people to think about environmental racism and classism.
Artwork: 2016 Ashley Powell, The Solution (To All Our Problems) Water Filter – 2016
• Black on the Ground, White in the Air, artwork from Ashley Powell • Climate Change—Realities and Resistance, by international photographers from the Critical Information Collective makes its US debut after hanging at the UN Paris climate summit in December
The artist’s talk will be held on First Friday, April 1 at 7 p.m. at the ¡Buen Vivir! Gallery for Contemporary Art, 148 Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo. The gallery will be open for First Friday from 6-9 p.m.
Wine and hors d’oeuvres provided. The show runs through April 29.
For further information please contact Kip Doyle, Media Coordinator, +1.716.867.4080 <[email protected]>
“All signs show that Paraguay, both its territory and its population, are under attack by conquerors, but conquerors of a new sort. These new ‘conquistadors’ are racing to seize all available arable land and, in the process, are destroying peoples’ cultures and the country’s biodiversity — just as they are in many other parts of the planet, even in those areas that fall within the jurisdiction of ‘democratic’ and ‘developed’ countries. Every single foot of land is in their crosshairs. Powerful elites do not recognize rural populations as having any right to land at all.” – Dr. Miguel Lovera
Photo Essay by Orin Langelle. Analysis at the end of the essay by Dr. Miguel Lovera from the case study: The Environmental and Social Impacts of Unsustainable Livestock Farming and Soybean Production in Paraguay. Dr. Lovera is the ex-president of SENAVE, the National Plant and Protection Agency during the government of Fernando Lugo.
Woman holding photo of a baby whose condition is blamed on Monsanto and agrotoxics during a rally in Asunción, Paraguay, 3 December 2014. PhotoLangelle.org
I recently returned from Paraguay and observed corporate dreams coming true at the expense of the people and biodiversity…
This Photo Essay was completed in February 2014 in LaBelle, FL – during LaBelle’s Annual Swamp cabbage Festival – for a presentation at a Organizers’ Conference in a nearby forest camp (and for the web). The essay has been edited to produce the Photo Exhibit Struggles For Justice: Forests, Land and Human Rights – Late 80s to Late 90s.
Most of the photographs in the old essay, like the one below, are now in the new exhibit.
“Ned Kelly Bushrangers” drop banner on Forestry Commission Tasmania in Tasmania, Australia. (1992)
The First International Temperate Forest Conference took place in Tasmania around the time the photo was taken. The conference led to the formation of the Native Forest Network.
All photographs are copyrighted by Langelle Photography (2014), all rights reserved. No photo can be used without the consent of Langelle Photography. See Publishing and Acquisition Information.
Why Copyright? One of the reasons I copyright my photographs is to track where these photos are being used in order to monitor the impact of my work and evaluate the effectiveness of Langelle Photography, a nonprofit organization.