America: The Throw Away Society
(Johns Island, South Carolina)
28” W x 22” H
I began as a portrait photographer in Austin, Texas, but now work almost exclusively in landscape photography and the photo-documentary. Landscape photography is what I do to make a living, on the South Carolina coast. Photo-documentaries are what I do to try to make a difference. Photo-documentaries educate, and take us on a journey of their own. As a film trained photographer, I still use a hand-held light meter. Even though I use a digital camera, all camera settings are posted manually. I was inducted into the National Association of Women Artists in New York City in November 2019. My work has garnered numerous awards, including, Best Cultural Commentary. I am a three time competitor in the renowned Artfield's competition for my work documenting homelessness and social injustice. Photography is about gathering the light, listening to the landscape, capturing the moment, and documenting what is.
America has over 600,000 people living on its streets, under bridges, in cars and in tent camps. 60-63% of those who land on our streets have had a catastrophic event ravage their lives, including: illness, death of a spouse, loss of a job, or been a victim of domestic violence. Medical treatment can absorb entire life savings in months. The loss of a spouse may mean the loss of a second income. Victims of domestic violence often have no resources. Their choices are to stay in an abusive situation or live on the streets. Veterans experience a two year waiting list for housing. Our system does not have a fail-safe for those who suddenly find themselves in situations beyond their control. Many just assume that our homeless are mentally ill or are drug addicts. There is a percentage of those in need of mental health and addiction care, but aren't the majority of our homeless. Are we really okay with someone sleeping on the street, using a garbage bag as a blanket to keep warm?