November 2013



Bayou Critter near Belle Chasse LA

Louisiana, Purchased

This project examines the consequences of greed and neglect in relation to both the loss of vital wetlands in the lower coastal parishes of Louisiana and the health of people living in close proximity to oil refineries along the Mississippi River. The foremost factor compromising the welfare of these regions and their citizens remains our insatiable demand for petroleum products and the irresponsible methods by which that demand is satisfied.

My intention is to visually document those specific communities – both the residents and the particular geographic spaces they occupy – that are at the greatest risk. Most of the affected areas are populated by minorities – Native American, African American, Cajun and descendants of the Isleños from the Canary Islands near Spain. Along with the destruction to their homelands, I am also photographing the cultural practices and rituals that are of vital importance to these inhabitants and inform the desires of many to remain on doomed parcels.

The explosion of the Deepwater Horizon in April 2010 and the resulting oil spill added further distress to the lives of a significant portion of Louisiana residents, damaging wetland areas vital to the fishing industries and destroying livelihoods and the cultural fabric of many communities. Those who make their living along the Gulf Coast were the immediate and hardest hit victims of this tragedy, but ultimately we are all affected.
In many instances, the communities I am focusing on have been so jeopardized that demise is all but inevitable. What is the value of honoring this loss and how might attention to the privation of former homelands be of interest to future generations?


Terri Garland is an artist who specializes in photographing the social fabric of the American South.

She received her BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1987 and her MFA in 1990. She teaches photography at San Jose City College.

As a graduate student, Garland began an examination of white Supremacist culture that has spanned over two decades, photographing individuals within the Ku Klux Klan, Aryan Nations, American Nazi Party and the Christian Identity Movement.

Since 2005, she has divided her time between Louisiana and Mississippi. Her current project, Louisiana, Purchased, is a visual study of the ways in which we depend upon and demand continuous supplies of fossil fuels, and the resultant damage and ongoing destruction to coastal communities in Louisiana.

Her photographs are included in the collections of The Center for Creative Photography in Tucson, Arizona, The Art Institute of Chicago, The di Rosa Preserve in Napa, California, The Cleveland Museum of Art, Saint Elizabeth College in Morristown, New Jersey, the Bibliotech Nationale, Paris, France, and Special Collections at the University of California at Santa Cruz.

Among her awards are a WESTAF/NEA Fellowship, Silicon Valley Arts Council Grant, a Rydell Visual Arts Fellowship and a grant from the Gulf Coast Fund that was used to teach photography to children during the summer of 2013 in the primarily Native American communities of Isle de Jean Charles and Pointe-au-Chien, LA.