How the Navajo still suffer from a country’s flirtation with nuclear war.
WKUPJ student Gabriel Scarlett examines the effects from decades of uranium mining on the Navajo Nation’s health, water and environment. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, “Nearly four million tons of uranium ore were extracted from 1944 to 1986; left behind were more than 500 abandoned uranium mines, four inactive uranium milling sites, a former dump site, and the widespread contamination of land and water. Only recently has the government attempted to assess and mitigate this contamination, but full reclamation of the land is unlikely.”
Begay with two of her sons, Lewis and Leonard, who died of cancers at 25 and 42, respectively. She counts at least a dozen of her close relatives who she believes died of exposure in or around the mines.
“Do you want me to show you where I dreamt of the water running?” Desaire Gaddy muses. “All through here, just blue water and dolphins.”
The decisions people make for family is the subject of a photo story by WKU student Lydia Schweickart, who documented the double life of mother and exotic dancer Rachael, a.k.a. Nicole. After Rachael’s fiancé was laid off from his job she started supporting the family by dancing at Tattle Tale’s Gentleman’s Club, bringing home more in one night what than her fiancé’ brought home in two weeks. Now that he has found another job and Rachel is expecting another child, she has decided to quit, after her doctor banned her from doing extreme activities.
WKU Freshman Tyler Cacek spent several weeks working with an ambulance crew for a project for Intro class. One day he documented the dramatic rescue of several people from a car crash.
Margaret Mason, 63, of Marion County, Ky, attempts to remove the victim of a head-on collision on highway 50 outside of Lebanon, Kentucky. The crash resulted in the hospitalization of 5 people, two of which were flown directly to Louisville, KY hospital from the scene.
In June 2009, I left the United States for East Africa. The primary purpose of my trip abroad was to document the efforts of The HALO Foundation (www.haloworldwide.org) working with disadvantaged youth in Kampala, Uganda. The majority of my time was spent creating a portrait series for each of the homes HALO works in, but in my off time I pursued other stories dealing with issues across east Africa. For years I have wanted to be a documentary photographer working in the Third World. This was the perfect opportunity for me to embrace my dreams and take a step into a career that I will hotly chase for the rest of my life.
I spent two months photo-mentoring a group of boys living in one of the group homes HALO supports. There isn’t much art appreciation in Uganda, so giving disadvantaged kids cameras and allowing them to explore the world in a way that they never thought possible allowed them to grow and appreciate a little bit of something that they never had.
I will continue to return to Uganda to document human stories an elements. My trip this summer allowed me to solidify my passion and honed my vision for my future.