A collection of aerial photographs on display at the William Carey University Tradition campus combines artistry and concern for our coastal environment.
“Coastal Waterways” by Susan Guice features photographs illustrating the impact man has on the Mississippi and Louisiana waterways. Guice will discuss her work during a reception and presentation from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 21 at the Tradition campus, located at 19640 Hwy. 67 in Biloxi.
“When I fly over the marsh, I’m captivated by the sinuous curves of its natural waterway, the coarse texture of the marsh grass, and the rich colors of the reflected sky on still waters and shallow silty bottoms,” said Guice who is a licensed pilot as well as an accomplished photographer. “But, it’s hard to ignore the ugly slashes of straight lines. These canals and pipeline cuts for the oil industry signal the end of days for this unique part of the world.”
The exhibit is a compilation of work that began in 2007, and the photos were collected over approximately 2,000 flight hours. Guice shot the photos with a Nikon digital SLR camera. She said the images are as she captured them with her camera using a variety of lenses; they have not been altered or manipulated.
“Susan Guice’s aerial photography gives us not only images of nature with exquisite vibrance, but also a unique perspective on man’s impact on the coastal waterways where we live,” said Tracy Williams, director of the Tradition campus art department. “The work is engaging on so many levels.”
Guice said each photo represents a moment in time. “These wetlands are disappearing so rapidly that the image you see here now may already be gone. Government data indicate that every 15 minutes an area the size of a football field is lost to open water.”
Nearly 2,000 square miles of the coastal wetlands have disappeared since 1932. “Today, because of the works of man, the marsh that took the Mighty Mississippi millennia to create is quickly becoming open water,” Guice said. “What was once a vibrant nursery for seafood, an unequaled habitat for wildlife, and protective barrier between the Gulf of Mexico and New Orleans is now merely the skeletal remains of its former self.”
The Louisiana marsh once helped flood waters to safely disperse across the Mississippi River. Recent catastrophic floods affecting residents all along the Mississippi River were worse because of wetlands loss in Louisiana alone.
Guice’s photos capture a disappearing landscape. She said, “Enjoy these photographs as you would a rainbow after a thunderstorm. One day, they will only be a reminder of what once was.”