Photojournalist Alex Mousan has travelled all over the world, photographing life in the Caribbean and Central America to Asia and the Middle East. Although she has traveled far and wide, she always comes back to her adopted home of Louisiana.
“Louisiana serves a special place in my heart for it’s history, people and environment. It continues to surprise me with its community despite the amount of hurricanes, floods or drastic changes in weather we can always come together over food and drink. I have always been someone to move around quite a bit, constantly trying to find my own sense of home and identity in all the places I have lived and for the last four years Louisiana has consistently called me back, welcomed me with a crawfish boil or oyster shucking night. The conversations I am engaged in here constantly reminds me of how the people of this state are invested in it’s wellbeing and changing it for the good. In all the places I’ve lived I haven’t met a community as deeply rooted in their heritage, tradition and hope that together we can call to action the change we hope to see.”
As Alex views the present world behind her camera, she is thinking of the individuals who might view her photos in the future. Documenting the present challenges and adaptation strategies to environmental issues will allow future generations an insight into ways they can deal with similar situations.
“The wetlands are changing every day. It’s interesting to capture and document something that is impermanent. As a photographer and especially a photojournalist we are tasked with capturing the present for the future to see what has changed. I am worried that I won’t be able to see it all and that our ecosystems might die with the changing landscape. I find it interesting to look at archival images of different hurricanes that have come through Louisiana and just knowing how many hurricanes we went through the last year alone and how our landscape is changing every minute it makes me feel the pressure even more to capture it. I’d like to be able to use my medium to capture all of its uniqueness and hope that our efforts to restore it and continue to do the work to bring attention to these places will make people feel compelled to action and preserve these spaces for our future generations to enjoy.“
As an adventurous traveler, Alex enjoys exploring and photographing Louisiana’s wetlands. Kayaking through Big Branch Marsh National Wildlife Refuge, canoeing through Lake Martin with friends, and trail running through the Bonnet Carré Spillway are just a few of the places she explores with her camera.
It’s interesting to watch people interact with their environment and how our sense of place almost becomes huge parts of our identities. As we live in these spaces with changing climates, increasing storms we have to adapt as individuals to our environment. I remember photographing a family living on the Tonle Sap river in Cambodia and listened to their story of how their commute to get to school, the food they ate and even going to their local Buddhist temple was completely determined by the lake and river they lived along. The lake and river are currently experiencing extreme drought changing the outcomes of the lives of the people who depend on it for survival as they all live in houseboats.
I think of how much our lives are impacted daily by the changes in our environment, knowing where to park when a big rainstorm is coming so our cars don’t get flooded or realizing that soon the fish or oysters that we eat may not be as readily available in the future. I know for a fact there are people living on houseboats right here in Louisiana who will be drastically affected by the recession of the coast.
We are not different but the same when it comes to issues around our changing environment, our ways of life will continue to change if we do not work hard to invest in our planet, to invest in our environment as we have invested in our industry and capital gains we have taken from it. We have degraded this land for far too long and it we don’t change it will be our homes completely flooded and our time to turn to living on houseboats. It is those that are poorest that are affected by these changing landscapes fastest and after seeing how Katrina and other hurricanes have devastated the people of our community it is the least we can do to preserve what we can.