Kolster Takes Camera to the Savannah River

As part of his Guggenheim-funded project ‘Take Me to the River,’ Associate Professor of Art Michael Kolster spent a month this spring photographing the Savannah River in the southeastern U.S., where his old-fashioned camera setup caught the eye of an editor at The Augusta Chronicle (of Augusta, Georgia).

Overlooking the Savannah River and I-20 Bridge, Aiken County, SC  2014, ambrotype, 7 3/8 x 9 3/16 inches

Overlooking the Savannah River and I-20 Bridge, Aiken County, SC
Michael Kolster, 2014, ambrotype, 7 3/8 x 9 3/16 inches

Starting in 2011, with Maine’s very own Androscoggin River as his first subject, Kolster has been using a 19th-century wet-plate photography technique to explore the stories of American rivers that were hit with pollution at the onset of the Industrial Revolution – rivers that went on to experience an age of recovery after the 1972 Clean Water Act.

“As they shed their role as depositories of waste and become cleaner, they are also undergoing large shifts in how we view them,” Kolster said in the story. “I use an older, antiquated photographic process to consider how the past and present uses of these places intermingle to affect their appearance.”

See more photographs and learn more about the project on Kolster’s website.

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