GLOWING EVIDENCE
I always thought of myself as environmentally aware, but a pesticide poisoning at home in 1998 motivated me to deepen my understanding. As I read more about the health and environmental consequences of pesticides, I expected pictures. When I saw none, I began to look for ways to make my own, to help me understand something difficult to imagine: the invisible ubiquity of pesticides, not only their presence on conventional farms but how they find their way unwittingly into our homes and our bodies.

I found inspiration in the research of the environmental scientist Richard Fenske, who developed a safety-training demonstration using fluorescent tracer dyes and UV light to show farmworkers who work with pesticides, pictures of their exposures despite protective gear. The demonstration under UV light appears to chart the movement and settling of pesticides, and the images surprise, amuse, and correct misconceptions. These reasonable approximations of reality motivate workers to adhere to painstaking cleaning procedures when they return home. With support from Dr. Fenske's colleagues, I learned this technique, not necessarily for its usefulness to instruct but because of how unposed subjects seen under another visual spectrum appear theatrical, distilling a personal and collective story.

Visual curiosity has always driven the project as I illustrate information I learn that is generally under the radar (e.g., how the same chemicals used in agriculture are used for residential and commercial pest control, how they drift into our homes often from miles away, reside in the blood and fat cells of our bodies, persist in conventionally grown food and fabrics, and are found in the amniotic fluid of fetuses). The tracers not only appear as indicators of pesticides and other industrial pollutants but also often appear to me as the dazzling spectacle of chemicals that make up our universe and ourselves: the ones that naturally occur that nurture and harm; the ones that we manipulate benignly; and then those made long after there is evidence of their harmful effects and used without most people's consent or full knowledge.

I apply the fluorescent tracer powder (the same whitening agent added to laundry detergents) to subjects mostly in and around my home illuminating them with portable UV lamps. I imitate the various techniques used for the training of farmworkers: photographing in complete darkness, in ambient light, using film and digital cameras, printing in both color and black & white. I use a large-format digital printer. The series consists of still, lenticular, and lenticular 3-D photographs. I fabricate the 3-D and lenticular photographs myself; the latter animate as viewers move before them with these the "evidence" truly "glows."

The project has given me a heightened sense of the visual impulse and of art's history and ability to assist in our very survival: by revealing, alerting, and enlightening. It has also made me look more closely at the history of how science and art chart invisible topographies leading to more accurate pictures of reality. Recently I saw beautiful early sketches that mapped the ocean floor; these led to scanning devices that now show even more precise pictures of what was known to exist.
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