A friend asked me to share my journey regarding my winning photograph for the European Union"s eXpressions photo competition that focused on The Environment and Climate Change under the theme " My World My Responsibility".
Many years ago I visited the Labasse during the National clean up campaign, I marvelled at the layout and was very impressed with the high quality road that existed there.
About 4 years ago I had to make a couple trips again. There was this stark raw upsetting beauty to it that I recorded with my cell phone. I admired the men and women who earned a living in that environment.
eXpressions launched and I immediately thought of the Labasse, especially its relation and proximity to the city, I went in and created a couple of images that I studied at length. Next came a road trip where I photographed the pollution in a stream emptying into the Blanchicheusse beach, a little too pretty, but it gave me an idea to light paint the water bottles responsible for so much pollution in our country, in our World... I titled it "Plastic's middle finger to the World." Still I was not satisfied because really, our climate crisis is our responsibility, we are the ones who are the cause of it.
I simply had to make another visit to the Labasse, I had to fully commit to bringing to light the RAW nature of what I, what we, are contributing to.
I did not shy away from the fact that this is where my fellow citizens earn their living, that in order to create the image that I needed, that I too had to scavenge for my shot, and so I went to this place, hidden from view from so many of us as we drive past it on an almost daily basis. In plain sight of many of the movers and shakers who occupy high rise offices, I HAD to stand in the middle of the stink of it, in order to bring it to light.
I had moved West of the Labasse in 2012 and many a morning awoke to the smog that had settled over the city during the night, I became a victim of the effects of the Labasse, and with all the protests then and since, I am at a loss as to why things have not really changed. I know and I'm aware that there are good and responsible men and women who are trying to make a difference, but they are overwhelmed,
It is time that we do our part.
Rachel Lee Young. Photographer