Guide to the Marion Belanger Photographs, 2001-2004
Collection comprises 25 black-and-white photographs taken from 2001 to 2004 by Marion Belanger, documenting the impact of human land use and demand for water on the Florida Everglades and nearby areas. Belanger's images show wildlife and natural landscapes as well as the presence and impacts of tourism, agriculture, migrant worker housing, construction, and activities of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Army. The digital prints measure 13x16 inches. Acquired as part of the Archive of Documentary Arts at Duke University.
- Collection Number
- Marion Belanger photographs
- 0.5 Linear Feet, 1 box; 25 prints; 13x16 inches
- David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
- Materials in English.
The collection consists of 25 black-and-white digital prints taken from 2001 to 2004 by photographer Marion Belanger, documenting the impact of human land use and demand for water on the Florida Everglades. Belanger's images show wildlife and natural landscapes as well as the presence and impacts of tourism, agriculture, migrant worker housing, construction, and the activities of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Army. The prints measure 13x16 inches.
From the artist's statement:
"...I had seen the Everglades from the plane – a dark nothingness at night, and by day a flat, often wet, expanse of swampland, punctuated by agricultural fields and housing developments. I was curious to experience the natural landscape, of course, but I was even more interested in the determined efforts of engineers, over many years, to eliminate the swamp for sugarcane fields and development profit. To me it was the dark heart of the state. Once I went there the actual place itself was more extreme than I could have imagined – the park itself like a living museum; miles of water control canals, levees, pumps, and dams; empty spaces, acres of emptiness, vast sugarcane fields, and (mostly gated) housing developments. My working process is not to impose the preconceived, but to embrace the unexpected."
"The Everglades in South Central Florida is the largest remaining subtropical wilderness in the United States. It consists of 1.5 million acres of saw grass marshes, mangrove forests, and hardwood hammocks dominated by wetlands. It is home to endangered, rare, and exotic wildlife. At one point, water flowed from the Kissimmee River to Lake Okeechobee, and south, as a shallow, slow-moving sheet of water before draining into Biscayne Bay, the Ten Thousand Islands, and Florida Bay. In 1948 the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was directed by Congress to essentially drain much of the Everglades marsh to prevent flooding, to irrigate farmlands, and to facilitate new development. This resulted in approximately 1.7 billion gallons of water being drained from the Everglades each day. The altered water flow has destroyed half of the Everglades. The Everglades Park has been on the World Heritage list since 1979, and it was placed on the World Heritage in Danger category in 1993."
"Progress on the Congress-mandated plan to restore the natural water flow (as much as possible), to its original state has been painfully slow. Salt water intrusion, repetitive water shortages, and poor water quality is a constant reality. This is a place where nature is as highly managed as the built environment and where the strange natural beauty of the land has become entwined with the brutal scars of past land-use decisions. How to solve the competing and conflicting pressures upon this ecosystem is a question for which there are no clear answers."
The Everglades project was supported with a 2002 John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship. This selection of prints was acquired as part of the Archive of Documentary Art at Duke University.
Access to the Collection
Collection is open for research. Images may only be used for educational, non-commercial purposes. All other uses require the permission of the photographer.
Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.
All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. The library may require up to 48 hours to retrieve these materials for research use.
Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection.
Use & Permissions
The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.
How to Cite
[Identification of item], Marion Belanger photographs, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.
Marion Belanger photographs the cultural landscape, particularly where geology and the built environment intersect. She was an honoree for the 2017 Shpilman International Prize for Excellence in Photography from the Israeli Museum of Art, and is the author of Rift/ Fault, with an essay by Lucy Lippard (Radius Books, 2016) and Everglades: Outside and Within, with an essay by Susan Orlean (Center for American Places at Columbia College Chicago, 2009). Belanger was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship to photograph the contested landscape of the Florida Everglades in 2002.
She earned an M.F.A. from the Yale University School of Art where she was the recipient of both the John Ferguson Weir Award and the Schickle-Collingwood Prize, and a B.F.A. from the College of Art & Design at Alfred University. She has been an artist in residence at the MacDowell Colony, Everglades National Park, and MASS MoCA, among others.
Her photographs are shown internationally, and her work is held in many collections including the National Gallery for Art, the New Orleans Museum of Art, and the Yale University Art Gallery and the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. Exhibitions include Photography and America's National Parks, George Eastman Museum, Rochester, NY; Internationale Fototage: Contemporary American Photography, Mannheim, Germany; Northern (L) Attitudes: Norwegian and American Contemporary Art, The American-Scandinavian Foundation, New York, NY. The artist resides in Guilford, Connecticut and she teaches at the Hartford Art School.
Click to find related materials at Duke University Libraries.
- Documentary photography -- Florida
- Immigrants -- Florida
- Nature -- effect of human beings on
- Water resources development -- Environmental aspects -- Florida
- Wetland ecology -- Florida
The Marion Belanger photographs were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a purchase in 2018.
Processed and encoded by Paula Jeannet, May 2018.
Accession(s) described in this collection guide: 2018-0042.
The photographs in the Everglades series were printed on Hahnemuhle Photo Rag Ultra Smooth 305 gsm paper with an Epson 7800 printer, using Piezography carbon ink.