Stephen Milner: The Ogeechee River
Stephen Milner has captured a project that looks at the fragility of the natural world, in particular, The Ogeechee River, where he explores the communities, landscape, and people that coexist along side it. By contextualizing this body of water, he calls attention to how easily it can be destroyed or polluted and but also shows the rich and varied world that surrounds it. This project also reflects a well seen and deeply considered body of work.
Stephen was born and raised on the north fork of Long Island, surrounded by water he has always been drawn to the ocean and its culture. Always seeking a fresh approach and using an unprejudiced eye to document his subjects. His curiosity for the unknown and unexpected is what motivates him.
The Ogeechee River
The Ogeechee River project documents the environmental problems facing the residents living along the river, as well as some of the recent effects of the flooding. The Ogeechee River is a 294-mile long black-water river that stretches from Crawfordville, GA, southeast into the Ossabaw Sound on the Atlantic coast. The river is a 5,540 square-mile basin and along it, hundreds of thousands of Georgians live and work, making it among the most important natural resources in the state.
In May 2011, the largest fish kill in Georgia’s history was recorded, leaving over 40,000 fish dead. King American Finishing, a textile processor in Screven County, was discovered to be discharging a fire retardant into the river for six years without an environmental permit. The thousands of dead fish were only found just below the King Finishing outfall pipe; no dead fish were found upstream from the plant.
The river community is one that’s based on everyday reliance on the river, whether it’s for food, transportation or recreation. Below King American Finishing’s outfall pipe, the river is no longer safe and river communities are being forced to abandon their traditions, while some choose to ignore the potential health risks and continue living along the river regardless of its health hazards.
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