Alex Mousan – Visual Storyteller

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.

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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. 

Caron Sharpe – Natural Artist

Caron Sharpe is a “natural artist.” Her art is inspired by what she loves and finds in nature in south Louisiana. Caron lived in the Azores Islands as a child and began her life-long fascination with tropical flowers and wildlife. Lush tropical images in her art reflect the islands as well as south Louisiana and her love for all things botanical.

Her favorite subjects are native birds and wildlife, moss covered trees and palmettos. Her unique substrates include antique doors, windows, ceiling tiles and slate. She also creates beautiful work in clay. Her faux painting and trompe l’oeil walls along with entries, windows and wood panels adorn the homes of many clients in Louisiana and around the world. Much of her inspiration comes from drawing at her home on the bayou and her lake house on Becky Lake. Follow her on Facebook at Caron’s Creations | Facebook to view more of her work.

Cathy Bader Mills – Louisiana Artist

Cathy’s romance with the birds of Louisiana started oh so long ago. Their personalities whether still or in motion captured her imagination. She documents her interpretations through her paintings with subtle and vibrate images and colors.

“The intimacy of small lush places and vast panoramic scenes have inspired me over the years. Observation is the key to knowing. I discovered when you know about the land and wildlife, you begin to love it. That love is what I try to share over and over again.”

Cathy gravitated to workshops in her teaching career through the Louisiana Sea Grant College Program based at Louisiana State University as well as information through the CWPPRA outreach materials. When National Geographic education made a call for teachers to be trained as Teacher Consultants, Cathy made her way to Washington, D.C. That opportunity led to a 2 ½ month trek across public lands. A website was developed that educated the public about their lands, another opportunity to love the land. The knowledge learned became a part of her work. Images of her work can be seen in her illustrations of “OH NO! Hannah’s Swamp is Changing” an education book on exotic aquatic invasive species. Her website https://www.cathybadermillsfinearts.com/ documents the scope of her work, real and imagined. You can also check her out on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/cathys.flock

Darlene Boucher – Coastal Louisiana Photographer

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Darlene Boucher has been documenting her beloved coastal Louisiana for decades. Her photographs evoke the wildness and uncompromising intimacy of the marshes, bays, bayous and barrier islands through a distinctly personal lens. 

“What inspires me about our beautiful state are our rivers, bayous and marshes that thrive with wildlife and I get to observe and photograph them! To be one with nature and to witness the shrimpers, crabbers and fisherman all going about their day is something not everyone gets to see. And the sunrises are unbelievable! I am obsessed. I consider myself one of the lucky ones, an occasional visitor into their wonderful world!” –Darlene Boucher

She has an eye for coastal birds in particular, and a journey through her Flickr account will introduce you to a variety of feathered friends in repose and on the hunt for dinner, nurturing their young and preening in the sun. She enjoys the bounty of the wetlands as well, and her photographs of those that provide for their families both daily and the occasional meal convey the importance of the wetlands to Louisiana’s communities as well as its wildlife. Her sunsets are especially peaceful, and captures the reflective meditation of the end of another day.

Find your favorite image and share it with us here or online!

shrimp boat at sunrise