25 February 2009

The Political Landscape in the Siskiyou Mountains

Christopher LaMarca's Forest Defenders series makes visible some political struggles that remain safely out of sight for most of us. He says this about the work:
I have been photographing these activists and loggers since the summer of 2003. My connection to this project revolves around the passion and endless work that consumes these people who live in the back-country for months at a time; and who are willing to sacrifice their comforts' to stand up for their beliefs.

Although these activists are often seen as radicals or eco-terrorists, little has been documented about their activities outside of these stereotypes. These stunning landscapes will continue to be decimated due to political pressure and lack of education, these are some of last truly wild places left in America.
The activists engage in civil disobedience - taking up residence in the treetops to prevent them from being cut, blocking logging roads, etc. - in hope of delaying or disrupting the 'harvesting' of forest lands. Their adversaries include the U.S. Forest Service and employees of logging companies. The conflict LaMarca chronicles are taking place in Southern Oregon very close to where my son August now lives. In that area logging is among the most stable and lucrative (if dangerous) ways of making a living - so the conflict here runs deep.

The work (including the images I've lifted here) has been published by powerHouse Books. (Thanks for the post Jörg!)

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