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Sarah Rose

In Lake Erie the balance between phosphorous and toxic cyanobacteria is precarious, at times leading to disastrous algal blooms. In my Lake Erie series, I explore this ecological phenomenon both up close and at a distance. In “Phosphorus and Cyanobacteria” I combine collage and site-specific photography to explore the relationship between these two elements. Phosphorous, represented in rock form, and the cyanobacteria interact with the lake reflected in the background.

“Tracking Blooms” interprets satellite imagery over Lake Erie captured throughout Summer 2021. Satellite imagery is often used to inform the public of cyanobacteria levels in the lake. Building on the historical tradition, set by Anna Atkins, of using this photographic medium to combine art and science, I use cyanotypes to create a level of distortion in the imagery. This distortion allows the “factual” assumption associated with satellite imagery to be waved, and instead opens room for questioning whether more effective, accessible data and imagery can be utilized in moments of environmental toxicity.

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