The Edge of the Earth — Louisiana’s Disappearing Coast

This past weekend I was invited to present some of my work to a group of architects, graphic designers, engineers, and other design practitioners from around the world who were visiting New Orleans through the Loeb Fellowship, sponsored by the Harvard Graduate School of Design. The goal was to provide some visual context as the group learned about the impact of the oil and gas industries on the coastal ecosystem, the various projects that are attempting to slow the rate of land loss, and the cultures and communities that are truly at stake as South Louisiana dissolves.

It was a nice opportunity to comb back through different assignments and excerpts from trips that I’ve made down the bayou, and rather than dump a folder back on a hard drive I thought I should share. The following edit (if you can call it that) might be too much, but you have to imagine the sound of my voice narrating with some really insightful and poignant details for five to seven minutes… See?

Some recent commissions that have helped me get out to explore the Gulf Coast:

The Globe and Mail: That sinking feeling: Louisiana is embroiled in a battle between prosperity and the planet’s well-being

MATTER: Louisiana Loses its Boot

NYT: A Hobbyist Whose Workshop Sits Among the Cypress Trees

NYT: Envisioning Profit in Environmental Good Works

NYT: How a Gulf Settlement That BP Once Hailed Became Its Target

WSJ: BP Spill Fines Pay for Inland Cleanup

NYT: Alligators Turn a Couple’s Dream Into a Court Fight

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Read more.. Monday, October 20th, 2014

2014 Michael P. Smith Fund For Documentary Photography

William Widmer - Pine Bluff Arkansas

The Michael P. Smith Fund For Documentary Photography (MPS Fund) was created by the New Orleans Photo Alliance to honor the life and work of Michael P. Smith, one of New Orleans’ most legendary and beloved documentary photographers. My friend Brandon Thibodeaux won this year’s $5000 award judged by Michael Famighetti, editor of Aperture Magazine. Brandon’s series When Morning Comes is a delicate and beautiful body of work from the Mississippi Delta, and he couldn’t be more deserving of the award.

I was proud to be named as one of five finalists for this year’s award for Postcards from Pine Bluff, a project I plan to continue shooting up in Arkansas over the course of this next year. Check the awards page for the other great projects that received mention and be sure to dig into Brandon’s work, too.

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Read more.. Sunday, June 8th, 2014

Relativity Media for Variety Magazine

Last month Variety Magazine commissioned me to photograph Ryan Kavanaugh and Tucker Tooley, the Founder/CEO and President of Relativity Media, respectively. Relativity is a full-scale film production studio based in Los Angeles, and Kavanaugh and Tooley flew in from the West Coast (and then straight back again) to meet me on the set of “The Best of Me”, a feature film currently in production in South Louisiana starring James Marsden and Michelle Monaghan.

This was a ‘hurry up and wait’ shoot — we didn’t end up starting until dusk and couldn’t use lights since we were on an active film set, but they were great to work with and Variety is running several pictures in the current issue as part of a tenth anniversary feature on Relativity. I’m not quite sure about the storyline of “The Best of Me”, but the scene they were shooting that night involved trains and guns and pickup trucks, so at least they’re covering the bases…

Variety : Relativity Media Celebrates 10th Anniversary and Q&A: Relativity President Tucker Tooley

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Read more.. Wednesday, May 7th, 2014