For Immediate Release March 11, 2019
Photographer Brings “Portraits of Struggle” Around the World and In the Shawnee
Carbondale, Illinois - Orin Langelle has been using the power of photojournalism to expose social, economic and ecological injustice since 1972. His subject matter spans a wide range of cultures, ecosystems and geographies. Topics include the struggles of communities, activists, workers and Indigenous Peoples–against racism, war, ecological devastation, climate change, economic domination, human rights abuses and oppression of women.
“I approach my role as concerned photographer by not merely documenting the struggle for social and ecological justice, but by being an active part of it, said Orin Langelle. “This has enabled me to garner the trust of many of the subjects I have documented, allowing me access that would not have been possible otherwise. In this way, I have been able to expose the truth that is so often hidden by the powers of injustice.”
While his photographs span five decades and five continents, they also highlight an historic struggle to save the Shawnee National Forest from industrial logging.
In the Summers of 1990 and 1991 forest defenders converged on the Fairview Timber Sale area in the Shawnee. In 1990 activists took over the Fairview Timber Sale area in the Shawnee National Forest in southern Illinois, occupying it for 79 days.
By the time the occupation was removed, the protest in the Shawnee wa
s nightly news in Illinois and many parts of Kentucky, Indiana and Missouri. The State Journal-Register, which is the daily newspaper in Springfield, the state’s capital, called the occupation “a popular uprising.”
Despite daily protests and more than 30 arrests, the Forest Service eventually logged Fairview in the fall of 1991. The project cost federal taxpayers more than ten times the amount that the logging company paid for the timber.
While the battle was lost, the Fairview uprising was the beginning of the end to the Shawnee timber program for over two decades. Litigation resulted in a court-ordered permanent injunction against the Forest Service from logging, oil and gas leasing and off-road vehicle use, for 17 years.
After petitioning the court, the agency won a motion to lift the injunction in 2013. Once the injunction was removed, the Forest Service quickly began preparing new logging projects. Shawnee Forest Defense!, a new group of local residents rooted in spirit of past Shawnee resistance, is mobilizing in response.
Orin Langelle also is the Strategic Communications Director with the international Global Justice Ecology Project that is based in New York State. Global Justice Ecology Project, along with the Indigenous Environmental Network and Shawnee Forest Defense!, is helping to organize The Resurgence- an international gathering of environmental, social justice and Indigenous activists, to address the intertwined forest and climate crises, that is to be held at The Touch of Nature in Carbondale, Illinois this October.
WHO: Orin Langelle will present his work “Portraits of Struggle”
WHEN: March 19th @ 6:30 p.m.
WHERE: Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Guyon Auditorium, 605 Agriculture Dr, Carbondale, Il.
Sponsored by the SIU Student Fine Arts Activity Fee, Department of Cinema and Photography, Dean’s office MCMA, School of Journalism, SAFE, Sierra Club Shawnee Group and the Peace Coalition of Southern Illinois.
“In those moments when you forget that we are part of a beautiful, creative and inspiring global justice community, a look at Orin Langelle’s photos will bring the glory of our movement back into focus.” – Medea Benjamin, Co-Founder, Code Pink.
Contact Steve Taylor for more information firstname.lastname@example.org (314) 210-1322
Photos Copyright Langelle