Photography as Activism - Andrew Rousey

Women's March on Denver

Women's March on Denver

I have always considered my self more of a preservationist than an activist or conservationist. I would see things I thought had a certain beauty, and knowing the world we live in, this disposable nation we've become, I would feel compelled to work at making a photograph that would be worthy of it's memory. Recent events in our country, however, have seemed to hit me harder than I thought it would.

A little extra background might help here. Something I seldom bring up is that I was at one time a member of the U.S. Air Force and a volunteer in the Gulf War,  support missions for Operation Just Cause and several other events of the early nineties. A few years after leaving the military I once again  volunteered my time following  the 9/11 attacks and spent another year with reserve unit until certain events made me realize I could no longer just blindly follow my governments ideas on protecting freedom no matter how much I loved my country and fellow citizens. 

It was at this point that I withdrew and really became the landscape photographer that I am. I felt that if there was one thing truly worth fighting over for future generations it is the environment we live in that allows us to have the lives we do. These beautiful places that it seems every contractor in the nation wants to sully with a strip mall or another set of row homes or subdivisions. Because to me, every tree we lose, or open space we destroy, is the equivalent of a life cut short. And I believe that literally. 

Then November 8, 2016 came and went, and once again I realized something that kicked me in the stomach and knocked the wind right out of my lungs. It took some time for the reality to sink in, and for the ache in my heart to subside. And I realize that it may very will take the rest of my life for the country I love to come back to itself. I am not a religious man. I do not believe that we as American's have a "God Given" right to anything. I believe that it is our responsibility as human beings to watch out and over each other. That the poorest and most destitute of us deserves the same treatment as the wealthiest. 

I didn't know how much I believed all of this, until that day in November. But now knowing that there are men in charge who want nothing more than to strip away the very safeties that have been in place since the 1930's and added too through later decades, and have been under assault since. Now knowing that a man like Paul Ryan, a man who took full advantage of those safeties in his youth but wants to ensure you and your children don't have the same opportunities, might just get his way. Now knowing all of this I will absolutely turn my camera back to the streets where true patriots will be fighting. I am truly ashamed of the country I fought and sweated for, and the men and woman who voted that feckless man into the office of president. 

In times like these it is sometimes difficult to know how to participate and it's easy to feel like calling it quits, pack it in and hope that others can come to the rescue. I will not let that be my fate.


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