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Stillaguamish Spring
TitleStillaguamish Spring
Artwork DescriptionAn aerial, color photograph of a fallow field with a homestead area carved out in the middle. A house is surrounded by trees and vehicles, and a short, dirt road leads to an outbuilding area.
Artist StatementThe images from this series are aerial landscape photographs of the Stillaguamish, Skagit, Samish, Nooksack, Snohomish, Puyallup, and Duwamish River watersheds near my home and studio in northwest Washington State. At low altitude from airplanes and helicopters, I have created narrative abstractions documents of point and nonpoint factors which adversely impact water quality within each watershed. This perspective shows a landscape continuously redefined by the forces of nature and development. The subversive formalism of the imagery underscores the deceptive beauty of the land as viewed from the air, while the oblique angle adds to the ambiguity of the work. With closer inspection, the world below is both troubled and complex. During the past several decades, water quality within these watersheds had declined dramatically. Once legendary runs of King salmon, Coho, steelhead and cutthroat trout (all indicators of good water quality), have been decimated. Sloppy logging practices have increased sedimentation and exacerbated flooding. Pollution from industry, herbicide and pesticide misuse, failing septic systems, household hazardous wasters, fertilizers, and dairy and equestrian farms foul the rivers and marine waters of Puget Sound. Development has increased runoff and destroyed wetlands as we race to pave over the countryside. I've been involved in watershed restoration and land use processes for the past eight years while working on the Stillaguamish River Watershed Plan. The only comprehensive and realistic way to tackle the water quality issue is at the watershed level. The "Stilly" was the first river in my state to be approached in this manner. A long term watershed restoration plan was developed through consensus getting farmers, citizens, governmental agencies, politicians, foresters, environmentalists, industry and tribal and fisheries experts to agree and compromise was difficult and time consuming. The success of implementation is slow and difficult to quantify. However, this approach does work, and is the only logical way to improve the water quality of our nation's rivers and marine waters. What does the future hold for clean water in this country? When do I again get to catch Kings, Coho, and steelhead on the Stilly? We obviously need to take better care of our natural environment. In the short term, I am pessimistic as I watch the new Congress, influenced by special interest groups and "property rights" activists, assault the Environmental Protection Agency and attempt to dismantle the Clean Water, Safe Drinking Water, and Endangered Species Acts. In the long term, I am optimistic. In a recent New York Times poll, 80% of those Americans polled favored "spending whatever it takes to protect our environment." In the past 25 years, the right to a safe, healthy environment has become a core American value. At some point our politicians will get the message. (Abrahamson, 1985)
LC SubjectPhotography
Outdoor photography
Aerial photography
Aerial photographs
Pastoral art
AAT Subjectart photography
color photography
CreatorAbrahamson, Mark
About the ArtistMark Abrahamson was born in Seattle, Washington in 1944. He received a BA degree in chemistry from Whitman College, Walla Walla, WA. in 1966 and a DDS degree from the University of Washington in 1970. In 1987 he received a grant from the Seattle Arts Commission, in 1991 and 1995 he was awarded GAP Grants from Artists Trusts, and also in 1995 a Washington State China Relations Council Travel Grant. (Unknown, 1995)
Artist URL
Regional Arts CouncilThe Oregon Arts Commission has ten Regional Arts Councils that provide delivery of art services and information. The Council for this location is: Mid-Valley Arts. You may visit their website at:
Award Date(s)1995
Artwork Measurements26 x 20 inches
Materials/Techniqueprinted on glossy ilford cibachrome paper with stable azo dyes.
Source Formatslide
Artwork SiteSalem Oregon. Department of Transportation. Driver and Motor Vehicle Services Division
LocationS wing/main aisle
Site Address1905 Lana Avenue, N. E., Salem Oregon
CountyMarion County, Oregon
Image Viewfull
Image Processing HistoryMaster tiff image captured at 4000 pixels across the long edge using SilverFast AI 6.0 software. Digital images in tiff format are archived and saved. Adobe Photoshop CS2 used to reorient and crop image, set and neutralize shadow and highlight points, adjust levels, contrast and sharpen as needed. Second production tiff saved. Color profile converted from Adobe RGB (1998) to sRGB IEC61966-2.1, resolution revised to 125 pixels, resize longer dimension to 875 pixels; save display jpeg at quality level 6.
RightsCopyright is retained by the artist or author. All rights reserved.
ContributorsUniversity of Oregon Libraries; Oregon Arts Commission
PublisherUniversity of Oregon Libraries
Digital Collection TitleUniversity of Oregon. Libraries. Oregon Public Percent for Art Digital Collection.
Contributing InstitutionContributing Institution
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