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Q&A With Jeff Rich

Jeff Rich is the man of the hour! His Ten launched this month, next week we're kicking off his solo show at the gallery and soon after a book release party. The busy man took some time to answer a few questions for our faithful blog readers. And for the record, I'm glad you chose photography over ornithology...

Steve Harris appears throughout the images on the Ten, and other images from your larger project, Watershed. What do you find so compelling about him?

His optimism. When I met Steve, he seemed to have a really positive outlook on his situation. Even though his 20 acres of land is polluted by nuclear materials, he continues to live and work on the property. For over 30 years, Steve worked, mostly on his own, and turned what used to be a pit mine, into a healing community and organic farm. Ever since he found out about the pollution a couple years ago, he has not given up on his home. He continues to fight and try to find a way to continue living on his property as well as get compensation for the damages to his health and home.

One reason (I'm sure you have many) that people should care about the environment.

Well, I'll go for the simplest reason...


It is one of the substances that sustains life on this planet.
 It is where the earliest life forms appeared. Just like we need the air to live, we cannot live without water. Clean water is essential.

Best travel adventure while shooting Watershed?

A 9 day paddle trip down the French Broad River this past summer, with Hartwell Carson and great group of people.

Digital or analog?

Well, that's a somewhat complicated answer. I shoot using large format film cameras, usually an 8x10 camera, but sometimes a 4x5. Then I scan the negatives into the computer and use a digital machine to print onto traditional light sensitive color paper. So it begins and ends as an analog process, but the middle is digital!

If you weren't making art, what would you be doing?

Working as a ornithologist.


"If your mind is empty, it is always ready for anything; it is open to everything. In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities; in the expert's mind there are few."
--Shunryu Suzuki

What's your greatest achievement?

I would have to say it is The Watershed Project and the upcoming book.

Dinner party. Ten guests. Who do you invite?

Aki Kaurismäki
Joel Sternfeld
Bill Callahan
David Byrne
Haruki Murakami
Craig Childs
John Berger
Paul Virilio
Raymond Kurzweil

How excited are you for your upcoming solo show and book release?

Really excited! I can't wait to see the book and hang up the work, and share it all with the Atlanta art community. I used to go to openings all the time when I lived here 10 years ago, it has been great to be part of the Atlanta community again. Thanks to everyone at Jennifer Schwartz Gallery for making that possible!



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