INVASIVE SPECIES

August 23, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

INVASIVE SPECIES A family's photograph album is generally about the extended family and, often, is all that remains of it.  Susan Sontag

 I've been reading Susan Sontag's On Photography, a collection of philosophical essays that look at the social and artistic impacts of picture making.  Even though she wrote the essays in the early 1970's, some of her insights struck me as relevant in today's world where getting your first camera phone has become a rite of passage.

Today though, I want to turn the pages in the family album all the way to the end, to the stack of old pics stuffed between the last page and back cover, the ones that were never lovingly tucked into the black corner holders or reproduced at Kinkos, but remain to warp the binding and fall out as forgotten, cast-away relatives.  

The Asian carp, a long lost cousin in the family album of life, was introduced into southern U.S. culture to clean sewage ponds and hatchery tanks, but flooding married the carp to the Mississippi river system and its tributaries.  Its fecundity is legendary in the Missouri and Illinois rivers to the point of the fish being classified as an invasive species. 

The lowly carp is not the only species on the list of environmental disruptors and invaders.  All of the carp, the kudzu, the brown tree snakes, or whatever else plagues your neighborhood, tag along on our heels, hubcaps, and in the holds of our movements yet fall far below in consequence to the primary invasive species, so conspicuously absent from the lineup, but found in any mirror.

So as you go about shooting the family album of life as we know it - sweeping vegetated vistas, a backyard butterfly, your own grandmother -  be mindful that with time your photograph, your view, will be all that remains of it.


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