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John A. Todd: Photographing Mining Pollution in Gold Rush California
The California Historical Society recently digitized its collection of work by Sacramento photographer John A. Todd. Todd documented the destructive effects of hydraulic mining, photographing washed-over roads, ruined orchards, broken dams, riverbank gravel deposits, and working hydraulic hoses. Though he is not well known today, his photographs were instrumental in Edwards Woodruff vs. North Bloomfield Gravel Mining Co. et al., 1884, the lawsuit that effectively outlawed hydraulic mining in California and thereby brought the Gold Rush to an end. Dr. Conohar Scott and Michelle Bogre argue that Todd’s photographs represent a prototype for the relationship that continues to exist between environmental activism and evidential photography that helps hold corporate polluters to account.

More about the speakers:

Dr. Conohar Scott is a senior lecturer in photographic theory and a practicing artist at the University of Lincoln in the United Kingdom. His research interests concern the representation of industrial pollution in photography and the application of art as a tool for environmental advocacy.

Michelle Bogre is a copyright lawyer and professor emerita of photography at the Parsons School of Design in New York City. Her research interests include the intersections between law and photography; documentary photography as propaganda; and how documentary photography creates cultural memory and reinforces stereotypes.

Jun 6, 2023 12:00 PM in Pacific Time (US and Canada)

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