May 24, 2018 | ° F

Photo exhibit revisits old sites

Photo by Shirley Yu |

The EPA unveiled its “Documerica: Then and Now” exhibit, composed of 15,000 images spanning 40 years of the environment.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s photo exhibit, “Documerica: Then and Now,” was unveiled yesterday at the University, its 40th location for its 40th anniversary.

The exhibition, which has been touring the country, commemorates the EPA by looking at the past and the present of America’s environment, said Jennifer May, special projects coordinator for the EPA’s Public Affairs division.

May said it is a re-visitation of photographs taken of the environment from the original “Documerica” project in 1971.

The EPA used social media to recruit people from around the country to go out to previously photographed sites and put their new photos on the EPA’s Flickr photo stream. Unlike the original photographers, participants are not compensated for their work, she said.

Elizabeth Myer, a stakeholder outreach coordinator for the EPA’s Public Affairs division, said the project is not intended to show the past and present in terms of better and worse.

“We want people to get out there and document things as they are, regardless of how they are,” she said.

May said the public’s role in the environmental movement supplemented EPA action and regulation, and therefore finds this public celebration of the EPA’s 40th anniversary fitting.

The traveling display comes to the University from New York City and will arrive in Washington, D.C. on March 8, May said.

Myer said she and May chose to display the exhibit at the University because they believed it was a place where viewers would be inspired to participate.

“We thought Rutgers was a great partner,” Myer said.

Mark Robson, dean of Agricultural and Urban Programs at the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, said a great deal of good environmental protection originates in New Jersey.

“New Jersey has a proud heritage,” said Robson, a professor in the entomology department. “We’ve trained a lot of good environmental scientists here at Rutgers and I’m proud of a lot of them.”

Over 250 photos were taken in the state of New Jersey. Nearly two-dozen were taken in Newark, N.J., according to the National Archives website.

In conjunction with the exhibit, the EPA’s Regional Administrator Judith Enck will deliver a lecture Jan. 29 called “The End of the Beginning of the Environmental Movement,” Robson said. Enck will discuss what the EPA has done in 40 years and what still must be done.

In hopes that student attendance would be high for Judith Enck’s talk, Myer said she scheduled Enck’s presentation in the afternoon.

“We were thinking of our own college days,” Myer said.

Enck has wanted to speak with students about climate change and the challenges being faced by the nation for some time, Myer said.

May said Enck is a very open person who wants to take students’ ideas and incorporate them in her work.

“Its going to be a presentation but it’s not going to be all one-sided,” May said.

The photostream can be found on the EPA’s Flickr photostream. “Documerica” photos can be found on the National Archive’s Flickr stream and website.

The exhibition will be in the Cook Campus Center from Jan. 22 through Feb. 5.

By Simon Galperin

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