Fine art landscape images of Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana photographed pre and post Katrina - from Venice south to the end of the three passes that drain the river into the Gulf of 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.
As lower Plaquemines Parish was also 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. The area was also impacted by disaster again, during the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill of 2010.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.
Photography for this project began in the spring of 2000, shot on both black and white film and in color digital, and has continued to the present day. In this collection, I have shot nearly every named location in lower Plaquemines Parish and have what is a very detailed and thorough collection of images. One such location is Pilottown, the historic home of the Bar Pilots, which I shot on black and white film in January, 2005.
After it was almost completely destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, I 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.
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.
Matthew D. White