LANGELLE PHOTOGRAPHY

Using the power of photojournalism to expose social, economic and ecological injustice

Posts tagged ‘James Bay’

This review of my exhibit was by Jack Foran was published in Artvoice Weekly Edition » Issue v14n23 (06/11/2015) » Art Scene. Artvoice (print and web) is one of Buffalo, NY’s two major alternative weeklies. Additionally, the exhibit continues through June 19, at which time I’ll give a walk-through and talk about the various photos, scheduled from 6 to 8 pm. Wine and hors d’oeuvres provided. The ¡Buen Vivir! Gallery is located at 148 Elmwood Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14201- OL

PORTRAITS OF STRUGGLES

ORIN LANGELLE’S PHOTOGRAPHS ON DISPLAY AT ¡BUEN VIVIR! GALLERY

By Jack Foran

Photographer Orin Langelle’s website concludes with two quotations. From Brazilian educator and philosopher Paolo Freire: “Washing one’s hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral.” And folksinger and activist Phil Ochs: “It is wrong to expect a reward for your struggles. The reward is the act of struggle itself, not what you win. Even though you can’t expect to defeat the absurdity of the world, you must make that attempt. That’s morality, that’s religion. That’s art. That’s life.” They pretty much sum up Langelle’s life and work.

A potpourri of his witness to the struggle photos from the 1980s and 1990s is currently on view at his r1¡Buen Vivir! gallery on Elmwood in Allentown. Including the iconic photo of an unidentified environmental activist, poised on a log tripod construction, arm and fist raised in spirited gesture of we shall overcome, at a training camp in non-violent disruption techniques in Vermont in the late ‘90s.

r2The exhibit is dedicated to the memory of activist Judi Bari (1949-1997), an activist against redwood logging in northern California who narrowly escaped death when her car was blown up by a pipe bomb—following which she was arrested by the FBI on charges of eco-terrorism. The FBI alleged she had been transporting explosives. Laboratory and other analyses discovered that the explosives inr3 question were placed directly under the driver’s seat and equipped with a motion sensor trigger to cause them to detonate when the car was driven, whereupon the Oakland District Attorney declined to press the FBI charges. Bari filed a violation of civil right suit on matters including false arrest and illegal search. Five years after her death her estate was awarded $4 million in the case.r4

The targets of the protests to which Langelle’s photos bear witness range from roadway expansion schemes in London, England, to golf course expansion and development of condominiums on land sacred to the Mohawk Indians, to logging activities within the Trail of Tears State Forest r5in Illinois, to Hydro-Quebec plans for hydroelectric production facilities on Cree Indian lands in northern Canada, to a protest against the Tasmanian Forestry Commission, Australia, an agency that is supposed to protect forests from rapacious practices of commercial timber interests, for failing to do so.

r6One photo is of an activist arrested—in New Hampshire—for handing out fliers urging people to write to their representatives in Congress in opposition to a timber harvest scheme in the White Mountain National Forest. Another—in Vermont—shows Abenaki Tribal Chief Homer St. Francis standing up in court, when he was told he was “out of order,” responding, “No, Judge, you’re out of order.” The Abenaki apparently had never ceded their land to any state or federal government, and continued to issue their own license plates and hunting and fishing permits. They were demanding that all Abenaki land be returned to them. Ultimately, the Vermont Supreme Court ruled that all Abenaki claims had been “extinguished due to the increasing weight of history.” History apparently was to blame.

Not all the protest activist photos show protest actions. There is a wonderful portrait of a Cree elder woman, looking ancient and patient—but not infinitely patient—taken during the photographer’s journey to Cree territory to learn about and document the struggle against the Hydro-Quebec project. The second phase of the project, that is. The first phase, the La Grande Project dam, had already flooded thousands of acres of Cree land, displacing resident natives and resulting in environmental devastation such as when an untimely water release drowned 10,000 migrating caribou. The second phase was another dam proposal that was postponed indefinitely following protests in Canada and worldwide. One photo shows protesters in front of the Quebec consulate in London with a banner denouncing the hydropower scheme. The second phase was ironically well-named. It was called the Great Whale Project.

The exhibit continues through June 19, at which time Langelle will give a walk-through and talk about the various photos, scheduled from 6 to 8 pm.

Leave a comment

The show opened 3 April 2015.

struggle final show

Please come to this closing reception and gallery walk-through – refreshments include wine and hors d’oeuvres.

Struggles for Justice is the last show in the present gallery space.  The ¡Buen Vivir Gallery is moving to the first floor of the same location at 148 Elmwood Ave., in Buffalo’s Allentown. The Grand re-opening of the gallery will be on 7 August 2015 with a photo exhibit by Anne Petermann entitled Triumph Over Tragedy.

Anne Petermann is the Executive Director of Global Justice Ecology Project and the Coordinator of the international Campaign to STOP Genetically Engineered Trees.

 

Leave a comment

EXHIBIT PREVIEW: STRUGGLES FOR JUSTICE

From: Step Out Buffalo

BY BRETT SMITH / ART, CULTURE & ARTS / MARCH 31, 2015

Pikes Peak – This activist was arrested for handing out fliers that urged the public to write their senators and congressmen about the Kearsarge North Timber sale in the White Mountain National Forest of NH. The arrest occurred in North Conway, NH, after a Northeast EF! Regional Rendezvous. / Photo Credit: © PhotoLangelle.org

This activist was arrested for handing out fliers that urged the public to write their senators and congressmen about the Kearsarge North Timber sale in the White Mountain National Forest of NH. The arrest occurred in North Conway, NH, after a Northeast EF! Regional Rendezvous. / Photo Credit: © PhotoLangelle.org

The rise of social media and the ubiquity of mobile devices allow us access to protests around the world and in real time. However, just 25 years ago – only photographers like Orin Langelle could give society a glimpse of the regional protests taking place in the forests of the MidWest or slums of England.

Starting this Friday, April 3, Langelle’s photography will be on display in Struggles for Justice: Forests, Land and Human Rights – Late 80s to Late 90s. The opening reception for the exhibit is taking place as a part of the opening of the ¡Buen Vivir! Gallery and Allentown’s First Fridays.

Langelle, an Allentown resident, has been documenting social change since the 1970s through “concerned photography,” or the idea that photography itself can be an agent of change. He recently told me that while the point of protesting is to achieve a result, sometimes the act of speaking out itself and its documentation can be just as powerful.

“It’s the struggle that’s important,” Langelle said. “Phil Ochs, the old folk singer, once said that it’s not about winning – it’s about the act, to show that the human spirit is alive.”

Looking over the photos from the exhibit, it’s apparent that Langelle’s lens was able to capture a range of scenes, from desperation to absurdity, in the span of just a few years.

Cree Elder Woman in Whapmagoostui (1993) in the James and Hudson Bay regions of Northern Quebec, Canada. One of the people involved in the day-to-day struggle against the multinational Hydro-Quebec. The people were already impacted by the nearly completed La Grande (Phase 1) Project and also with the people fighting to stop Phase II, the Great Whale Project. Hydro-Quebec’s La Grande project dam that flooded thousands of hectares on Cree land, displacing all Cree in that area. An untimely water release from this dam drowned 10,000 migrating caribou. / Photo Credit: © PhotoLangelle.org

Cree Elder Woman in Whapmagoostui (1993) in the James and Hudson Bay regions of Northern Quebec, Canada. One of the people involved in the day-to-day struggle against the multinational Hydro-Quebec. The people were already impacted by the nearly completed La Grande (Phase 1) Project and also with the people fighting to stop Phase II, the Great Whale Project.
Hydro-Quebec’s La Grande project dam that flooded thousands of hectares on Cree land, displacing all Cree in that area. An untimely water release from this dam drowned 10,000 migrating caribou. / Photo Credit: © PhotoLangelle.org

In 1993, he was able to capture the heart-wrenching image of an older Cree native woman who was involved in a day-to-day struggle against Hydro-Quebec, the utility that displaced thousands of Cree with the construction of a massive dam project. In 1989, his camera snapped the image of mostly naked people from a group called Earth First! dancing in the New Mexico desert after declaring war on the US.

On top of a tripod during a Forest Activist Training Week in northeast VT. (1998) The Forest Activist Training Weeks lasted many years and hundreds of activists were trained in non-violent direct action, including blockading, banner making, climbing, tree-sitting, and tripod construction. / Photo Credit: © PhotoLangelle.org

On top of a tripod during a Forest Activist Training Week in northeast VT. (1998) The Forest Activist Training Weeks lasted many years and hundreds of activists were trained in non-violent direct action, including blockading, banner making, climbing, tree-sitting, and tripod construction. / Photo Credit: © PhotoLangelle.org

One of the photos included in the exhibit, taken in 1998, is of a massive tripod that protesters used to block various roadways. However, this technique has fallen out of favor as authorities have learned how to safely bring down the tripod by cutting slices out of each leg in succession, causing it to lower slowly to the ground.

SOB_large 38 tripod-2
On top of a tripod during a Forest Activist Training Week in northeast VT. (1998) The Forest Activist Training Weeks lasted many years and hundreds of activists were trained in non-violent direct action, including blockading, banner making, climbing, tree-sitting, and tripod construction. / Photo Credit: © PhotoLangelle.org

Langelle told me he has seen a lot change in protests over the years, the biggest change coming after 9/11. After the terror attacks and subsequent rolling out of anti-terror measures in law enforcement, Langelle said he noticed a scaling back of protester tactics.

“It’s had an effect,” he said. “But I’m seeing a lot of young people that are becoming a lot more militant. I think there’s probably going to be a lot of protests around the UN meetings in Paris in late November, early December. I’m not really sure what’s going to happen.”

“I don’t want to say (protesters) are going to be more aggressive, but maybe not as polite,” he added.

As far as exhibit visitors go, Langelle said he wants people to walk away thinking about the long history of protest culture and how its documentation can shape that way we look at society.

For more information on Struggles For Justice: Forests, Land and Human Rights and ¡Buen Vivir! Gallery, visit photolangelle.org/buen-vivir-gallery.

Struggles For Justice: Forests, Land and Human Rights – Late 80s to Late 90s

Where: ¡Buen Vivir! Gallery @ 148 Elmwood Ave. in Buffalo

When: Opening Friday April 3

Time: 7-9 p.m.

Leave a comment

Struggles for Justice: late 1980’s to late 90’s

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.

Exhibit Online Now 

-*34 Tas takeover02990009“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.

4 Comments
EnglishFrenchGermanItalianPortugueseRussianSpanish