I was digging through my archives today, looking for photos for a talk I’m giving that show my development as a photographer and was struck by how much I’m still driven by the outdoors and the people right around me.
One project I shot back in the summer before my freshman year at Tufts really stands out now. At the time, I barely looked at the photos or thought anything of them since I was working for the Lincoln Conservation Commission and none of it seemed spectacular; it was just my day job. My favorite series was on invasive water chestnut harvesting in Fairhaven Bay in Lincoln, Massachusetts. Henry David Thoreau used to hang out around Fairhaven Bay and actually set fire to the woods there with his friend Edward Hoar more than 150 years ago.
Water chestnuts are an invasive aquatic pest that clog up slower moving parts of rivers. The plants form these extremely dense mats that can negatively impact native plants and fish. The nuts are also very nasty and have hard sharp spikes. We used the harvester to cut up the roots, load them via a conveyor onto the boat, and then brought the plants and their seeds to the DPW.
Driving the harvester is a two man job. One person has to be at the controls of the behemoth and the other has to make sure that no animals are loaded onto the conveyor. Everything moves so slowly that you have ample time to take pictures. Water chestnut harvesting is not a fast paced job.
I can’t believe 2008 was 6 years ago!