Walnut Tree drilling inspiring area photographer

Small business owner, writer and portrait photographer Chadwick Washington, like most, is concerned about the environment. Like many, he sometimes wondered if there was anything he could do personally to help.

“It wasn’t until very recently that I realized there was a way I could use my skills to raise awareness about the environmental issues being faced here in North Carolina”, he said.

Often when subjects of pollution and related issues are raised, the focus is on the data and large-scale projections of future consequences.

“That kind of big-picture approach is very important,” Washington says, “but what I find most interesting are the stories that tell how individuals are dealing with the consequences of pollution. That’s when it hit me: what if I were to photograph and interview these people, then publish their stories? That’s how the idea for this project all began.”

For his first story Washington photographed and interviewed Tracey Edwards of Walnut Cove. Her community is dealing with coal ash and she shared how this has affected her family across several generations.

Washington is hoping to spend four to six months traveling the state doing just that – compliling portraits and stories of everyday North Carolinians who are suffering directly as a result of pollution. These stories will initially be produced as an online blog series and eventually published as a portrait photography book next summer.

To help raise money for this project Washingtonhas lauched a Kickstarter campaign that ends on Dec. 31. Kickstarter is a crowdfunding website that allows people to make small donations in order to fund projects that they want to see created.

“Donations of any size are accepted and greatly appreciated,” Washingtonsays, “but for donations of at least $35 we are giving away an advance copy of the book if we are fully funded by the end of this month. It’s a nice way for people to support a cause they believe in and get something tangible in return. It’s a great feeling to be able to hold something in your hand that you had a part in creating.”

Chadwick decided to title this project ‘The Face Of Change’ in order to reflect our changing relationship with the environment.

“For thousands of years our environment has sustained and nourished us,” he says, “but today our environment is often toxic, with the potential to cause us lasting harm. This is one of the biggest changes of our time, and it’s the story of that change that I want to share- one face at a time.”

For more information on this project and to make a donation, log on to www.thefaceofchange.org.

Nicholas Elmes may be reached at 336-591-8191 or on Twitter @NicholasElmes.

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