Artist's Statement

William Widmer

The coastline of Louisiana is vanishing at a rate of nearly a football field worth of wetlands every 100 minutes, making it the one of the highest rates of land loss on the planet. Thousands of miles of oil and gas canals have been dredged through the state’s fragile marshes and wetlands for access to rigs and refineries, and the Mississippi River – once a source of nutrient-rich sediment carried thousands of miles to the Gulf of Mexico - has been engineered into an efficient aquatic highway, leaving coastal Louisiana starved for soil.

Within the next 50 years, it is projected that Louisiana will lose another 700 additional square miles of land, including the majority of the bayou country that shrimpers, commercial fishermen, and their families call home. As a photographer, I am working to document both the landscapes and livelihoods that are threatened by this rapid environmental collapse, as well as the causes of their decline. By chronicling this race against time along the Gulf Coast, I seek to raise awareness and advocate for an irreplaceable ecosystem and a unique way of life.