Research & Documentation 

As a geographer, writer, and photographer, I travel the world capturing people's stories. The world is changing quickly, especially in places of economic and political transition. Given significant changes I have witnessed from the Balkans to Southeast Asia to East Africa over the course of two decades, preserving these stories is now central to my work.  

 

Water resources are possibly the most crucial resource for our planet. Globally, rivers are under immense pressure from changes wrought by rapid development and climate change. As a result, biodiversity and cultural diversity are disappearing at an alarming rate. Professionally, I travel to countries undergoing major transition to examine places slated for water development projects. With permission from country governments, I visit remote river communities to investigate, record, and analyze changes on rivers. I take this information and write reports, articles, and other forms of formal and informal publications to help those governments with critical information needed in management and policy decisions.

 

I believe that we must all be well aware about river communities of people and ecosystems that are or will be quietly displaced by development. We must understand the beauty, knowledge, traditions, and mosaic of human experience we are sacrificing in the name of modernity. I now want to use my unique access due to my profession to help preserve what I can, before it is too late. And I am experimenting in ways to share that effort with a wider audience. 

 

The original portraiture found on these pages composes diverse collections across space, time, and culture. My work brings me into contact with many types of people. While most of my work centers around water and rivers, some of my work is focused on cultural preservers and societal challengers. The collections are as follows:

Portraits from Rivers of Change series captures communities prior to water development changes on three rivers so far: the Blue Nile, the Mekong, and the Mara rivers. Fieldwork I conducted in 2012, 2013, & 2016 respectively allowed access to capture some of the last images taken of traditional river activities. Dam projects in the Nile and Mekong are and have displaced tens of thousands of people, erasing ways of life from the face of the earth.

Portraits of Nile Basin Leaders is a collection of brilliant aspiring community leaders I've met while working in the Nile River Basin between 2012-2016. These individuals have worked tirelessly to bring about change to their greater African community and local communities through farming, music, photography, journalism, poetry, research, scholarship, teaching, entrepreneurship, activism, organizing, and vision. 

Portraits of an American Artist is a collection of different individuals who strive to preserve beauty and tradition while they challenge the status quo of our information- and image-saturated American society.

 

I intend to continually add to this body of work and sincerely hope that it contributes to an overall sense of understanding about our common humanity that persists across landscapes, continents, oceans, time, social class, skin color, and beliefs. The more we take time to learn about and honor one another, the more we can learn and honor ourselves.

 

 

© 2015 by Jennifer Veilleux

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