By Abbey Hepner

This article is taken from a paper that I presented at the 2017 Society for Photographic Education national conference. In 2015 I set out to make a project about the dawn of the nuclear renaissance in a small town in Georgia and came to realize that the more significant and unavoidable issue was that of environmental injustice. I grew increasingly discouraged with my photographic practice and fearful of my examination as an outsider. I turned to classic photographic theory books to try to analyze the questions I had about power dynamics and photographic morality, and I thought I might never make another photograph. Recognizing that my peers in the photographic community were asking similar questions about our roles as creators and the complexity of examining the world from an insider-or-outsider position, I spent a year traveling and interviewing them about their process. I collected more modern materials that explored ethical questions in photography, with an awareness of the scope of the medium and technological changes that have taken place. I was searching for a reason to keep making photographs and to say what I knew needed to be said.

Thanks to these artists for guidance and sharing their process: 

Logan Bellew
Kei Ito
Paul Turounet
Krista Wortendyke
Sarah Christianson
Maureen Drennan
Eugene Ellenberg

Abbey Hepner is an artist and educator investigating the human relationship with landscape and technology. She teaches at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs and is the founder of Creative Advocacy, an organization dedicated to teaching artists professional development skills. You can see more of her work by visiting her website or by following her on Instagram @abbeyhepner