Seven Rivers Feature in the New York Times

Added on by Ansley West Rivers.

A Photographer’s Evocative Portraits of Rivers in Flux


The art photographer Ansley West Rivers‘s “Seven Rivers” project began after a life-changing 25 days she spent floating the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon in 2011 — a trip that culminated with her drifting, under a full moon, to Lake Mead. As she recalls, “We had lived surrounded by the canyon walls for three weeks, so the abrupt transition was disorienting. The river we had developed such passion and love for over the last three weeks was now being choked into an eroding construction site. The dignity of the mighty Colorado was lost.”

The trip made Rivers “realize the importance of watersheds as maps,” she says, “for they tell the story of civilization past and present, as well as the landscape.” And it inspired a photography project that investigates the current state of the American river. As Rivers explains, the photographs aren’t intended as documentation, but rather to depict the “unseen changes” that human interference wreaks on each of these waterways. “The constructed images I make on each negative show the possibilities and effects of industry, global warming, agriculture, power, and the unquenchable demand for fresh water,” she says. “Each image depicts the journey each river takes and the struggles bound to every drop of water.”

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