Mississippi River Delta Photo Documentary Seeks Funding

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Matthew D. White and Big Vision Media Partner to Raise Funds for “The End of the Great River: Photographs of the Lower Mississippi River Delta”

Matthew D. White and Big Vision Media are currently seeking funds to continue White’s fine art photographic documentation of the Mississippi River Delta, from Port Sulphur in Plaquemines Parish, LA south to the end of the three passes that drain the river into the Gulf of Mexico — Pass a Loutre; South Pass; and Southwest Pass. This delta, full of history, culture, and industry, is sparsely populated and rarely seen in detail by outsiders, but is a landscape of vast, simplistic beauty.

Photography for the project began in the spring of 2000, shot on both black and white film and in color digital, and continues to the present day. As lower Plaquemines Parish was decimated by Hurricane Katrina (as well as having quite a long history with other notable storms of the past), it has been proposed by some involved with coastal rebuilding efforts that the area be eventually abandoned and allowed to slowly sink into the Gulf over time.

In this collection White has shot nearly every named location in lower Plaquemines Parish and has what is a very detailed and thorough collection of images. One such location is Pilottown, the historic home of the Bar Pilots, which he shot on black and white film in January, 2005. After it was almost completely destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, White returned there in April of 2008 to find this one-of- a-kind town, the last manned outpost on the Mississippi River, barely hanging on; a few pilot houses were being rebuilt, while the remainder of former homes along the river completely vanished.

The goal of this photo collection is to document for posterity this time and place in the landscape — one that is slowly fading away, perhaps forever. The locale, a significant national economic, cultural, ecological and historical legacy, was also impacted when oil washed ashore during the recent Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill.

A touring exhibition of images from the collection opened at the Port of New Orleans in December 2009 and is currently showing at The Wealth Planners Gallery in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, http://www.juliebuckner.com/wealthplannersgallery.html. The exhibit will continue to tour in 2011. White is also seeking publishing for a coffee table book of his collection.

Funds are needed now for a new phase of work to shoot endangered landscapes and historical landmarks in some of the more remote and hard to reach locations of The Mississippi River Delta such as Pilottown, LA, the last outpost on the Mississippi River, Fort St. Philip, a decommissioned masonry fort on the east bank of the Mississippi River, and an endangered lighthouse - and to expand the exhibit collection.

"I have captured a rare glimpse of some of the most remote locations on the Louisiana coast, "says White. "The way of life that is so simple and peaceful down there on the Delta is just hanging by a thread. I feel that I can do my part for its preservation by showing what is still beautiful about it; that it is, and always has been, one of the most unique and spellbinding landscapes in the nation. I try to convey 'sense of place' in my photos; if the viewer can for one second sense the peace, solitude, and wonder I feel standing in these landscapes, then there would be no question about whether or not the Delta should be preserved."

For more information and to donate to the project, please see the Project Website at http://www.endofthegreatriver.com.

About Matthew White
Matthew White (http://www.matthewwhitestudio.com ) fell in love with photography at an early age. He has lived and worked as a freelance photographer and musician, after receiving a Bachelor's Degree in music from Berklee College of Music in Boston, and a Master's Degree in jazz studies from the University of New Orleans, a summa cum laude graduate. White’s large scale photographic work includes “The Louisiana Collection”, fine arts documentation of south Louisiana shot alternately in 35mm black-and-white and large-scale color digital and “South Florida Unseen”, landscapes tracing the limits of urban sprawl and agricultural areas along the Everglades watershed. His most recent solo exhibitions include, “The End of the Great River: Photographs of the Lower Mississippi River Delta” and “Cameron Parish”. Winner in the Print Center 82nd International Competition, his work has also been featured in the Grand Isle Juried Art Exhibit, The New Orleans Photo Alliance Elemental/Environmental Space Exhibit, and as part of a permanent museum exhibit for Parks Canada in New Brunswick. He was invited by the U.S. Department of State to present his images during the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and he most recently partnered with Lighthawk and the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana on a series of aerial flyovers to take pictures of the endangered Louisiana coast.

Artist Statement:
I've always been attracted to things at the end of the line; the place where one thing ends and something different begins. I have an interest in borders, frontiers; places that might seem obscure on a map but turn out to have greater significance upon closer inspection. I like the feeling of these places and try to convey that in my work. There are places where all the building and tearing up of earth that people do dwindles off and the natural world begins to take over again. I imagine a kind of transition zone between those two places that's in a state of constant slow change, and that's where I look for the right image. I get the feeling of being in that "zone" in many places along the Gulf Coast, where I have found the majority of my images.

About Big Vision Media
Big Vision Media, (http://www.bigvisionmedia.com) is a social entrepreneurship focused on inspiring and empowering creative media based projects in endangered and disaster impacted locales. The company’s mission is to ignite wise action, positive change and new vision through transformational media.

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