I came up with the concept for this shoot way back in April
when I learned that the oil company Enbridge had plans to build
a major pipeline from the Alberta tarsands to Kitimat on the
northern coast of British Columbia. Even closer to home is a proposed twinning of the already existing TransMountain pipeline in Burnaby, BC owned by
Kinder Morgan which in order to build would require dredging the Second Narrows.
The possibility of this pipeline being built scared me to my core. The devastation it would cause when (because it is a matter of when not if) the pipeline leaked or a super tanker carrying the diluted bitumen along the treacherous inlets between Kitimat and the
open ocean were to crash was too sickening to not do anything to stop.
The thought of our beautiful beaches covered in disgusting oil made me want to cry. Instead I decided to combine my passion for photography and my love of the ocean to spread awareness of the impending pipeline construction. My idea was to show models, Teresa and Shena, covered in "oil" (I used an awesome recipe from Green Peace) to depict what it would be like to visit our beaches covered in oil.
In fact, we wouldn't visit them at all. They would essentially be dead.
I shot Teresa on location at Sebastian Beach in Lantzville, BC. The magnificent sheets of gnarled rock along the perimeter of the beach are breathtaking and are perfectly curved in places so one can relax comfortably while suntanning. (I'm sure this is exactly what dear Mother Nature had in mind while the rocks were forming, but nonetheless they are beautiful). The waves wash up and form deep tidal pools in the twisted caverns of the rock. Each pool is teaming with life--starfish, urchins, barnacles and umpteen different varieties of seaweed.
For Shena I went to my favorite beach, Piper's Lagoon.
It's a beach I grew up with and I couldn't imagine living without it.
It's also a beach I've used for a couple of my other shoots.
We trekked way out to the point, the same place one can watch
sea lions feeding on herring in the spring and snuck around
the corner to a little beach tucked into the rocky cliffs.
I used gold and black as my color pallet. Nail lacquer in gold with dripping black blobs to represent oil. All the clothes are second hand.
If you love the beaches around here and want to get involved in saving them from the devastation of an oil spill you can get involved in your local community. There is an emerging Sierra Club Nanaimo whose mission at the moment is to stop the twinning of Kinder Morgan's TransMountain Pipeline as well as to halt the construction of Enbridge's Northern Gateway pipeline. In addition, there are other local Sierra Club groups if you're not in Nanaimo you can join. You can urge your local city counsel and provincial and federal government to step up and say NO to a pipeline and YES to creating infrastructure for an alternative, clean energy future. You can tell one person about what is happening so everyone has a chance to exhibit their democratic rights and tell the government what they want--Super Natural British Columbia sans oil and tankers!
All photos ©2012 Aviva Stein-Wotten