Middle Tennessee State University photojournalism student Alex Blackwelder loves documentary storytelling and photography. Harriman's TVA coal ash spill has presented him the rare opportunity to be present, camera in hand, in the direct aftermath of an environmental disaster. What's resulted is the following audio slideshow: a look at post-spill life for Evyn, an 18-month-old with cerebral palsy, and Penny, his custodial grandmother, former residents of Swan Pond, one the communities most devastated by the accident.
Scene's Brantley Hargrove has covered the toxic spill since January. In Pith follow-ups, he's documented TVA's ineffectual, and patently dishonest, spin-doctoring, their Gestapo-like arrest of an activist trying to give an old lady a ride home and the general screwjob they've given elderly farmers. But Blackwelder's photos add an entirely new dimension to TVA's neglect.
Through gorgeous black-and-white photography, Blackwelder manages to convey just how much life has changed for those most affected. Forced to live in a hotel during a clean-up that has no clear timeline, Penny's plight is one we can all understand: She wants a clean, safe place for her and Evyn to live. But most of all, she just wants to go home.
(Belated H/T: Nashvillest)