Mary Ann Martin talks with Jessica Cattelino about fishing, the lake, and its economic impact.
Seminole Tribe General Counsel Jim Shore talks with Jessica Cattelino about the negotiating Seminole water rights with the State of Florida and water’s meaning to the Seminole community.
Mr. Shore on the importance of water in Seminole culture and community today.
About this Picture
On Anthropology and Photography
About this Picture
I’m Leo Hsu. I write about photography for Fraction Magazine online and teach in the history of photography, and I was also trained as an anthropologist.
Let’s look at this picture, Non-Native Seminole reenactor, Seminole War reenactment, Big Cypress Reservation 2014. What is this picture of, and what is it about? The photograph shows a re-enactor sitting in a tent. The caption tells us that the re-enactor is not Seminole. Nadel’s photograph shows the reenactment as a contemporary event. We aren’t meant to look at this picture and believe that we are seeing a historical or, for that matter, a contemporary member of the Seminole tribe in Florida. Instead, Nadel wants us to recognize the reenactment as a performance.
Nadel wants to show us how the past can be imagined in the present. We can see the seams and edges around the performance: the sheets and blankets, the chair, the yellow pegs in the foreground. Nadel wants us to think about what’s involved in invoking the past, to the point of wanting to inhabit the role of someone who, historically, would have had a very different experience than a European-American.
And, Adam Nadel’s photograph addresses the representation of nonwestern people by westerners. Nadel’s photograph is not about what it might mean to be Seminole today ; rather, it is about the re-enactor’s desire to tell a certain story that’s about Florida and the Seminole tribe’s role in its past. Like much ethnographic photography of the 19th and early 20th centuries, this kind of history represents its subjects as disappearing, or already disappeared, and perhaps no longer relevant. Nadel’s photograph of the re-enactor, like so many of the images in this project, is about showing how narratives are created and reinforced. In this, it’s a mirror held up to the way that histories are told.
Please feel free to continue listening as I briefly discuss photography as it was used in the service of 19th and early 20th century anthropology.
On Anthropology and Photography
Photographers in the 19th and early 20th century, in the service of anthropology, often sought to portray their subject as a representative of their race, ethnicity, or society. Ethnographic photographers did this in such a way that the subject of the photograph was removed and isolated from the context of their own life and experiences. Photographs were often used to confirm existing beliefs about nonwestern peoples, and to position them in relation to modernity, creating a narrative that fit them into a story that could justify European and American expansion.
Anthropologists and ethnologists created “racial-type” photographs to present what they felt were the “ideal” type of a race or ethnicity, drawing attention to physical characteristics and attributing factors like intelligence or criminality to them.
In Europe and America, social scientists sought to use “racial-type” photography to justify racist anti-evolutionary beliefs and colonial governance. Notably, photography was also used by anthropologists to counter some of these arguments, by showing the range of physical variation that can exist within a population.
Both anthropologists and documentary photographers have become increasingly self-conscious and reflective about their practices and intentions, presenting information that embraces complexity rather than taking an authoritative view. Photographs, increasingly, are seen not as artifacts of some objective truth, but as the material statement of an act of witnessing.
The way that we understand a photograph’s role as evidence and as a photographer’s act of expression has changed. Today in Nadel’s photographs, we see the subject presented as an individual, photographed in a particular instance, positioned in relation to a complex set of concerns. Nadel asks us how this particular moment came to be, and provides cues that invite us to ask how beliefs and practices are created and maintained.
Jessica Cattelino talks with a migrant worker about her childhood.
Jessica Cattelino talks to a migrant worker about his experiences as both a laborer and manager of workers.
Jessica Cattelino on Getting the Water Right.
The sound of sugar cane burning.
FCA Sweetheart Taylor Bolin is interviewed at the Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show about being a Florida Cattlemen’s Association “Sweetheart” and her role as an ambassador for the Association. Interviewed for the Southeast AG Net radio network at southeastagnet.com.
Invasive South Floridian species as represented in cinema.
Invasive python in South Florida as represented in a nature video.
Joe Prommer reflects on where he lives.
I moved to South Florida in 2005 to begin a new job. I had never pictured myself living in a gated community in Palm Beach County, but then I met my wife, and she did. We moved into that community, which is close the Turnpike, in 2008. On weekends, I used to take my daughter canoeing, and then leave the Everglades, I thought, to return home. I didn’t know I was living on reclaimed land until, several years later, Adam visited and pointed this out to me. My only explanation is that I was so involved in commuting, working and paying bills to afford to live in the community that I didn’t take the time to think about where I was living. There were a lot of signs, though, had I been paying attention. For one thing, we were surrounded by canals. We passed two or three every time we drove to the grocery store. Also, for a middle class, heavily landscaped golfing community, there was an excessive amount and variety of wildlife in our neighborhood. There were bobcats on the golf course, a family of river otters regularly passed by our kitchen, there was an alligator in the lake, and there were snakes, lizards, rabbits, frogs, toads, and innumerable birds. There was, several weeks out of the year, a Lympkin that would sit on our roof, somewhere above our bedroom, screeching from night until dawn. I read somewhere that the Lympkin’s wail is the sound of the Everglades. It was as if the Everglades were screaming into my ear several hours a night and I was sleeping through it. Despite the signs, I remained unaware of my residence until Adam’s visit. Even then, on that day, it was unclear to me why he was taking the photograph of my daughter and I standing in the middle of the street in our neighborhood.
The first 12 minutes of a September 1, 2016 meeting of the Water Resources Advisory Commission.
First of three parts of the complete film (late 1950s) from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Central and South Florida Flood Control District about the importance of water control in South Florida.
In 2009 Mali Gardner discussed life in the drained Everglades, her heritage, and the role of agriculture with Jessica Cattelino.
contact Adam to buy show’s poster ($25 with S/H – what a deal!) and comments/feedback at
This exhibition is a collaboration between Artists in Residence in Everglades (AIRIE), Everglades National Park, Dr. Cattelino, and Mr. Nadel, with the direct support from Florida Humanities Council and Wenner-Gren Foundation. Field work was supported by the National Science Foundation, Magnum Foundation, UCLA’s Laboratory for Environmental Narrative Strategies (LENS), and Puffin Foundation.
Data used to generate the maps and graphics were taken from dozens of sources, many contradictory, and synthesized by the curator, Mr. Nadel, who then designed and oversaw their presentation. Graphic artist Kako (kako.com) refined and illustrated all maps, timelines, and data graphing.
Getting the Water Right is a traveling exhibition shown at Yale’s Peabody Museum of Natural History (CT), The Southeast Museum of Photography (FL), and the Everglades National Park (FL). Future venues are currently being sought. Mr. Nadel can be contacted for bookings, or general inquiries, at email@example.com
Lead Operator Scott Ford talks about moving water at pump station S5A during and after 2012’s Hurricane Isaac.