2014 Emerging Photography Contender: Stephen Milner

For The Ogeechee River Project, Savannah-based photographer Stephen Milner captures the devastation following textile company King American Finishing’s dumping of fire retardant into the body of water. For six years, the illegal dumping continued, and in 2011, more 40,000 fish were killed, threatening not only the economy but also the safety of the surrounding areas. 

Writes Milner in his Artist Statement, “The Ogeechee River is a 294-mile long black-water river that stretches from Crawfordville, GA, southeast into the Ossabaw Sound on the Atlantic coast. The river is a 5,540 square-mile basin and along it, hundreds of thousands of Georgians live and work, making it among the most important natural resources in the state. 

“The river community is one that’s based on everyday reliance on the river, whether it’s for food, transportation or recreation. Below King American Finishing’s outfall pipe, the river is no longer safe and river communities are being forced to abandon their traditions, while some choose to ignore the potential health risks and continue living along the river regardless of its health hazards.”

All images © Stephen Milner

Each week, Feature Shoot editors showcase the work of one photographer who has applied to the Emerging Photography Awards in order to highlight the diverse array of applications we receive. This is not an endorsement of the photographer for the award.