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2019 SPE Annual Conference: The Myths of Photography and the American Dream / Major support by The Joy Family Legacy Foundation

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CAROLYN MONASTRA

SPE Member since 2006
Member Chapter: Northeast

The Witness Tree

"The Witness Tree" is a project about the effects of climate change around the world. From the melting ice of Antarctica to the wild fires of Australia to the encroaching deserts of Inner Mongolia, I am drawn to precious and precarious places that mark the shifting boundaries between nature and the effects of our not-so-natural disasters. I want to show the eerie, discordant landscapes in our stormy, drying world. I want to capture this life before it goes away and because I want it to live.

My work is driven by the emerging dialogue between people who are rooted to their lands, but are (sometimes) innocently uprooted from them. Although many of the landscapes I visited were beautiful, the stories were not: I heard tales of loss of life, property, and valuable natural resources. It has been a bittersweet journey.

Through presentations and exhibitions of "The Witness Tree", I hope to translate a general awareness about climate change into a concern and an action to reduce its effects on our world.

Burned-out car, East Bastrop, Texas

Stairs and burial vault displaced by floodwaters from Hurricane Isaac, Braithwaite, LA

Woman collecting and cleaning plastic bags, Nairobi, Kenya

Virginia Omar after Hurricane Sandy, Staten Island, 2012

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