Photo by Anthony Coronado
|To start off I want to give you a brief history of myself. I am originally from South Texas (specifically a small town called Yoakum) and have witnessed first hand the results of oil disasters and fracking on our beaches where countless marine life washed up dead because they drenched in oil. Our shorelines were dark and murky and become hazardous to swim in. Texas began to experience more and more earthquakes far too often that it became an issue. This is why I knew I wanted to do a project over drilling to raise awareness of the effects and how it is destroying our environment.I knew I wanted to create a series of images being that I am a photography major at New York University but I did not know how I wanted to go about doing this. I did not know the steps to take in order to get my point across. I was also afraid of becoming too overwhelmed because the ideas of making huge billboard size posters and stickers came to mind. I even thought of teaming up with huge environmental groups such as Greenpeace and getting put on websites or even being featured in art galleries. Of course, all these ideas were a lot to be taking on with the little time and resources I had. I needed to think of some things that would be more convenient but still have the same impact. I aimed for my images to show oil and gas disasters and how it is still to this day effecting our environment. I appropriated beautiful images and stills from BBC Horizon, TYT Network and CNN News (which I gave full credit to. My intentions were not to steal from the sources I used) in the hopes of recreating the appropriated images and taking more of an artistic approach to these unfortunate events. Taking inspiration from Sebastiao Salgado, who captures images from around the world photographing places not ye industrialized by mankind. He shows us beauty in hopes that we would want to preserve what is left. I aimed for quite the opposite by using images that were of oil disasters. My intended was to show what we already have done or destroyed using large scale projection of oil spill imagery. I did this by projecting appropriated images onto a model who expressed hurt and pain just as is our environment. Our earth is crying out to us but we treat it with abuse and neglect. By projecting onto my model I aimed for the photographs to look as though they are becoming part of the projected image.Everything we do will be projected back onto us whether it be small or big now or in the future. I have my images but what now? I had no idea how I would get my project out there and get people to look at my work. Again I found myself overwhelmed with my ideas and all that I could do. I sat down and really thought of an effective way of doing this and still having it satisfy my class final requirements. How will I impact 10 strangers and be able to document that? This question constantly ran through my head. I knew I wanted to make posters and put them up around the city but I just did not know how to get people to notice it. So, I came up with the idea of writing out a survey with 4 simple questions (information obtained from dosomething.org) and information on the latest oil plans for the arctic drilling (information obtained from greenpeace.org). I decided to take this survey out and my photographs and reach out to the public and ask individuals and groups, ranging from all ages, if they knew what was going on with the Arctic drilling and as well if they knew enough about the effects of oil. I asked each individual or group to make a small pledge; any pledge of their choice whether it be big or small. I decided to walk around Central Park, because what better way to reach out to a public, and I tried to approach as many people as possible. Going in I was a tad nervous because I was curious if anyone would even care to hear me out to participate. I also wondered “what if I run into someone who is very pro oil and gas?” Of course I couldn’t think about this too much I just had to go for it. My first attempt was a success and the individual that I asked to participate actually asked to know more and so I gave her a small card with our website greenworld.nyc and explained she could find out more information about things that are going on.Encouraged by my first attempt being a success I continued to walk around. My next attempt was with an older gentlemen who actually turned out to be an NYU alumni. Although an NYU alumni, he chose to not participate due to not feeling comfortable supporting an anti-oil campaign. I understood, thanked him and moved on. I continued to reach and approach more people. Some denying but others interested to learn more and eager share what they have learned. I approached a group of boys at one point, not thinking much of what would come of this conversation, and began to talk to them just as I have with the others before. Within minutes of the conversation I began to realize that not only did they have more questions but they were giving me advice and telling me a thing or two that they already knew. It was really interesting to see that my questions and knowledge only made them curious to know more. After saying our goodbyes I decided to approach one more person hoping to end the day with a success. I approached a gentlemen and introduced myself and what I am doing just like I did before with everyone else.
After I asked if he would be willing to participate and immediately I received the answer “No.” Disappointed, I thanked him and walked away. I did not know why I was so disappointed; I received a few no’s that day, so why was this one so upsetting? As I was walking away I realized it was not a disappointment. I did what I set out to do and that was to impact people even if they did not agree with my point of view. I still had the chance to talk to individuals and groups and set these questions in the back of their mind. Maybe they aren’t going to think of it at this moment or perhaps they will never think of oil and the effects again. But they were not a complete disappointment because I was able to educate them on what is going on. I decided to end the day and continue the following. Come the next day I decided to reach out to students at NYU so I wound up going to a few random dorms and going door to door as well going to Bobst Library. I also decided to hang a few small posters near the elevators in dorms. This was a great experience and I know this is just the start of a project instead of a completion. I plan to team up with Greenpeace and make my project less broad (perhaps aimed more towards arctic drilling). I am on their site but you can only see my photos if a member. I plan to spread my project around more and team up with large environmental groups.
Below is a link to my prezi presentation where you can find a bit more information on this final and how I presented to my fellow classmates. Feel free to check it out and share with friends and family on Facebook.