27 January 2017

Who Needs the EPA?

Today I found a bunch of public domain archival images from Documerica, a documentary photography project in the early 1970s, sponsored by the then-newly developed Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA asked photographers to go to American cities and towns and document how polluted our country had become thanks to industrialization. 

This is my montage of three images: one from Lake Charles, LA, one from Tacoma, WA, and the other from Cleveland. Growing up right outside of Manhattan, in one of the most polluted corridors of northern NJ, I well remember the smog-filled skies and acrid scent of perfume fouling the air on many days. And yet, we ran outside to play, with no clue about the chemical assaults we were exposing our young bodies to. 

So many people I know have longterm chronic illnesses due to their exposures to these chemicals. It is difficult to imagine going back to that era, with few protections of our air, soil, and water. And excruciating to imagine more generations becoming ill without the federal government's stewardship over companies that do not concern themselves with the human health irreparably harmed by their products.

25 January 2017

15 January 2017

Babushka Icon

From my Babushkas of Chernobyl series

14 January 2017

Wait - Galway Kinnell
Wait, for now.
Distrust everything if you have to.
But trust the hours. Haven’t they
carried you everywhere, up to now?
Personal events will become interesting again.
Hair will become interesting.
Pain will become interesting.
Buds that open out of season will become interesting.
Second-hand gloves will become lovely again;
their memories are what give them
the need for other hands. The desolation
of lovers is the same: that enormous emptiness
carved out of such tiny beings as we are
asks to be filled; the need
for the new love is faithfulness to the old.
Don’t go too early.
You’re tired. But everyone’s tired.
But no one is tired enough.
Only wait a little and listen:
music of hair,
music of pain,
music of looms weaving our loves again.
Be there to hear it, it will be the only time,
most of all to hear your whole existence,
rehearsed by the sorrows, play itself into total exhaustion.

Photos by Heidi Utz

08 January 2017

Tatt2 Tammy

I first met Tatt2 Tammy in the 1990s on the road between Cerrillos and Madrid, NM, where she'd created a large outsider art installation called Tiny Town. Her creations from found objects included lots of bones and sometimes roadkill, plus a number of dioramas--scenes from her life and psyche. When I took the above photo, she was in a happy place, having found love with the cowboy to her left, and was all too pleased to let me and Maggie roam around and take photos on her property. But in late 2008, her landlord locked her out and she burned everything on the property. Tiny Town was, sadly, history.