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Year of Water Exhibit: Along Bayou Road

March 29, 2011, Volume 57, No. 27

Mourning Reflection

One of the images by Michael Koehler, now on view at Penn Law: Mourning Reflection, Hopedale, LA, September 2010.
Gelatin Silver print, 24x36.”

Philadelphia native Michael Koehler’s photography exhibit, Along Bayou Road, at the Goat, Silverman Hall at the Penn Law School, looks at the Louisiana bayous and a way of life in the middle of transition. The Louisiana bayous are home to the largest fisheries in the country and are at the crux of a unique relationship between the people and the land.

Mr. Koehler’s photographs capture the value and vulnerability of the bayou’s deep-rooted culture with essential scenes from the fishing industry, the people’s resilience in rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina, and the horror of the oil spill that continues to threaten their lives, and ours.

Mr. Koehler’s black and white photographs document and preserve this rich bayou culture, raising awareness of environmental devastation.

“Along Bayou Road focuses on our moral responsibility to see that the bayous are not forgotten and ensure that this is not the end of the road, but rather a new beginning in protection for the fishermen, the wetlands, and this essential way of life. These fishermen become a symbol for what’s happening in our country, and if we lose this way of life, we lose a piece of ourselves,” said Mr. Koehler.

The photographs document fisherman who were the first responders after Katrina and were forced to work on the front lines after the BP oil spill without ample resources and protection.

Mr. Koehler’s journeys to the heart of the Bayou’s ecosystem provide an honest view of the fisherman, hardworking Americans who maintain a unique way of life on the brink of extinction.

The exhibit is on display through April.

Year of Water

Almanac - March 29, 2011, Volume 57, No. 27