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Jeff Rich July 13, 2012

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.

From the Watershed Project, Erwin Tennessee 2011

Jeff Rich (b. 1977, USA) documents water issues ranging from recreation and sustainability to exploitation and abuse.  He explores these subjects by using long-term photographic documentations of very specific regions of the United States. Jeff received his MFA in photography at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia. His project “Watershed: The French Broad River” was recently published as a monograph by Photolucida as part of the 2010 Critical Mass Book Award.  His work has been featured in Fraction Magazine as well as Photo-Eye’s Photographer’s Showcase. Jeff was recently named as one of the winners of the Magenta Flash Forward 2011 Emerging Photographers Competition. He has shot assignments for Oxford American Magazine and The New York Times.

About the Photograph:

“This photo is of Steve Harris, at the confluence of North Indian Creek and the Nolichucky River. This is a spot on Steve’s land where he goes to commune with nature. Steve’s property is along the Nolichucky River and is less than a mile from the Nuclear Fuel Services Plant. The company processes used radioactive materials, mostly Uranium and Plutonium from reactors. Nuclear Fuel Services (NFS) has a record of accidents and spills over the past 50 years of company operations. Recent water and soil testing revealed evidence of Uranium and Plutonium pollution up to 50 miles down the Nolichucky River. He is considered an MEI, or maximally exposed individual. In other words because of his close proximity, he is exposed to the highest dose of radiation from the NFS pollution. Radioactive pollution is completely invisible and detectable only by special instruments.”

“Steve has owned his property for over 40 years. The land was reclaimed from a pit mine operation, and he created a community on the 20-acre property and has hosted numerous festivals and gatherings. Steve had plans on turning the property into an  organic farm and artist community. This project seeks to capture what Steve’s land was like before the discovery of the pollution, one man’s Arcadia along the river. The project also shows what his property has become, an empty landscape, devoid of the community that once thrived here.”