A homage to Rachel Carson

“One way to open your eyes is to ask yourself, what if I had never seen this before? What if I knew I would never see it again?”

There is one woman who I think I have yet to mention, yet she has been a quiet inspiration behind my work for sometime.

Her name is Rachel Carson. That’s her quote in bold above. An initiator for what we now see as the environmental movement, Carson’s book Silent Spring, published in 1962 just two years before her death, was a warning about the misuse of chemical pesticides on the natural world.

Working as a marine scientist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Washington, DC, primarily as a writer and editor, Carson was able to use her vast knowledge to educate and challenge. A decade or so before Silent Spring was released she had taken on the Republican U.S. government in a warning letter about seeing the environment in business terms alone, sadly echoed again today.

Carson said: “It is one of the ironies of our time that, while concentrating on the defense of our country against enemies from without, we should be so heedless of those who would destroy it from within.” This makes my heart break for the human race. But is only through never giving up and continually educating people that our resources are not necessarily infinite and that wealth and power are not essential to be satisfied in life that we may one day start to undo the direction our mass consumption is taking us in.

My MA practice is heavily influenced by female innovators and photographers, but not by design. I have only really started to notice this of late and I hope that the work I produce will pay homage to the work of women like Carson and Anna Atkins whose skills, passion and attitude I plan to channel in my own work.

The blog Brain Pickings has been an amazing resource for my learning about Carson and I am grateful to be able to reference them as such.

References:

https://www.brainpickings.org/?s=rachel+carson  (accessed April 1, 2017).

http://www.rachelcarson.org/Default.aspx (accessed April 1, 2017).

 

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