2 years ago
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The Human Relationship with Water (The TVA and the Tennessee River by Jeff Rich)
Jeff Rich is a well known photography that mostly focuses on issues concerning water. From "recreation and sustainability to exploration and abuse" Jeff covers the roles that water plays in our lives as well as the roles we as humans play in using water. All this work documenting and capturing water forces us to consider the liquid world that surrounds and sustains our lives with (hopefully) appreciation and reverence. This project, The TVA and the Tennessee River, examines the "heavily controlled and harnessed" rivers of the the Tennessee River Basin through complicated effects of large-scale modernization. The TVA is the Tennessee Valley Authority and it was the first government agency whose by a geomorphological condition: The Tennessee Watershed. Here are a few words from Jeff and how he sees our relationship with this river and the land is surrounds: "A common misconception of a watershed is that it’s all about the water. While water does play a large part, the land plays an even larger role by directing the water to a common point, such as a river or ocean. Thus, human impact on the land directly affects the water that runs over it. In Watershed, I intended to highlight this relationship between land, water, and man within the Mississippi River watershed, the largest watershed in North America. Every watershed is made up of smaller watersheds or basins, and the Southern portion of the Mississippi Watershed is made up of three major river basins, The French Broad, The Tennessee and The Mississippi. Each of these basins form a chapter of the Watershed project. As the current operator of 29 hydroelectric dams in the Tennessee Watershed, 18 power plants, and 3 nuclear plants, the TVA has a significant impact on the region. Its original mission as a multipurpose authority has shifted since World War II, and for the second half of the 20th century the TVA was mostly concerned with production of cheap electricity through coal fired power plants. However, its recent push towards heavier reliance on natural gas and nuclear energy, as well as renewable resources has changed the landscape of the rivers in the watershed in ways that are already evident. Down from being one of the top five most polluted rivers in the United States in the 1990s, the Tennessee now sits near the bottom of the list of 25 most polluted rivers. However, alongside this progress, there have been negative reverberations throughout the watershed communities. From the drowned towns and resident relocations spanning the 20th century, to the largest toxic waste spill in US History in 2008, the TVA’s effect on the region is all encompassing."
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While it does seem like this watershed is on it's way back to recovery, who knows how fast it will happen, or if it will continue? This project does a good job of really showcasing the magnitude of manmade changes in that area...
@happyrock I completely agree, the project works well and I think that is proof of the photographer's experience.
Beautiful project. I love the contrast between the beautiful landscape photographs and the extremely industrialized areas