“We don’t like to look at children who are dying. It’s against the proper order of life. But to be told they are dying or suffering horribly because WE haven’t protected them is intolerable. Tammy Cromer-Campbell seduces us into looking at these deformed feet, mottled skins, shielded faces, and accusatory eyes by also slipping in pictures of laughter, productivity, and activism. If we act, there is hope. It is Cromer-Campbell’s own hope that infuses the pictures and gives them lasting value. They are a rich and fitting testament and call to us to care.” —Anne Wilkes Tucker, Gus and Lyndall Wortham Curator, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

 

 

“The unremitting power of Tammy Cromer-Campbell's art lies far beyond the faces and stories she has documented. Her images propel us through one Texas community's fight for survival while her vision, much like Goya's long before, suggests the universality of such human tragedy. The ecological and personal devastation of Winona goes far beyond what happened to these people and what they chose to do about it. Cromer-Campbell’s insightful photographs, while possessed of both a compelling beauty and a telling narrative, above all also give us fair warning: what happened here can happen anywhere, anytime, to any and all of us who must share the earth.” --Roy Flukinger, Curator of Photography, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas at Austin

 

"A powerful, intelligent, and ultimately moving body of work." -- Keith Carter, Photographer/Author/Professor, Lamar University, Beaumont, TX

 

Only when our hearts are moved can there be real change.That's why

Tammy Cromer-Campbell's photographs are so important. Now that I have

met the people of Winona, I cannot forget them. I will know that my

life is connected to theirs. For the toxic waste that went into their

bodies is a result of the collective lives of the rest of us. --Aileen Mioko Smith, Activist, Author, and Co-Author of W. Eugene Smith’s photo essay Minimata, Kyoto, Japan

 

Tammy Cromer-Campbell's photographs are haunting and compelling. She uses the very limitations of her toy cameras to her advantage, creating images that are as damaged--and yet full of life--as her subjects. -- Jim Motavalli, Editor, E/The Environmental Magazine

 

In the finest tradition of the best documentary photographers, Tammy Cromer-Campbell has fashioned a moving portrait of the lives destroyed in a small East Texas town by willful industrial pollution, and in so doing has helped remake the lives of some of its poorest citizens. --Hank O’Neal, Photographer/Jazz producer

 

"Fruit of the Orchard" marks an important contribution to contemporary conversations about the relationship between race, class, and the environment. The photographs and accompanying text that comprise the exhibit are a powerful example of environmental rhetoric, one that highlights the importance of visual imagery and cultural activism in the struggle for environmental justice. --John W. Delicath,U. S. Government

Accountability Office

 

AD Coleman

Photo Techniques

Sept/Oct 2005 pp32-35

Documentary Photography Today

Tending the Fire Striking New Sparks

 

... Advocacy or activist photographic work. Here I’d position work that seeks, in Karl Marx’s phrase, to help us not only to understand the world, but to change it. This includes such diverse projects as Gran Fury’s AIDS poster campaign, some of Hans Haacke’s and Krystof Wodiczko’s controversial installations, and Tammy Cromer-Campbell’s “Fruit of the Orchard,” an ongoing saga of corporate and governmental manfeascance deep in the heart of Texas. Such projects not only describe existing situations but trace cause-and-effect relationships, identify possible solutions, propose courses of action, and ask “Who profits?” – following money and pointing fingers at the culprits.

 

PHOTO Techniques

March/ April 2007

p. 5

 

Fruit of the Orchard : Environmental Justice in East Texas

By Tammy Cromer-Campbell

 

These photos, taken with a Holga plastic camera, prove that you don’t need expensive gear to take great photographs. These were taken in Winona, Texas, where a toxic waste plant was blamed for an increase in cancer and birth defects in humans and animals. The distortions and vignetting caused by the cheap plastic lens work with the dark mood of these 50 duotone images of children and families struggling, playing, and – sometimes – dying. (University of North Texas Press, 130 pages, $30)

 

Journal of the American Studies Association of Texas • Volume 38, November 2007

 

Cromer-Campbell, Tammy. Fruit of the Orchard: Environmental Justice in East Texas.

Essays by Phyllis Glazer et al. Denton: U of North Texas P, 2006. 130 pages. $29.95 cloth,

ISBN 13: 978-1-57441-215-4.

This collection of photos and essays combines to tell the successful story of a group of

concerned citizens who opposed a toxic waste facility in Winona, Texas. The collection

celebrates individual conscience and group action to protect a dear place. The company was

forced to close in 1997. A press release claimed the company “required a fourth-quarter

writedown of $7.4 million” (4).

The book functions, then, as a tribute to people who dared to stand against oppressive,

corporate waste. The genius of the book lies not merely in the big story, but in its ability to

capture the faces of ordinary citizens. The fifty one black and white photos, approximately two-

thirds of the book, evidence the vulnerability of those affected by the facility, thereby reminding

readers of the tremendous effort involved to repel the corporation. The photos illuminate the

innocent fears, often of unsuspecting children. The effects are powerful. One cannot also help

but notice that the photos demonstrate the inter-racial nature of the community. They suggest the

shared humanity that is at the mercy of ecological short-sightedness.

The photos are framed by essays. Some inform the reader of the particular situation of the

book, while others provide insight concerning “prevention” and “myths” of toxic waste. For

example, Dr. Marvin Legator, formerly in the Department of Preventive Medicine and

Community Health, Division of Environmental Toxicology, The University of TexasMedical

Branch at Galveston, writes: “The underlying assumption of toxic waste facilities, and frequently

state and federal agencies, is that they know more about the technical aspects of toxicology than

the victims of chemical exposure” (127). This book, at least, is one voice that counters such

arrogant presumption of which Dr. Legator speaks. The combination of visual and written

narrative, personal testimony and credible, expert witness concerning environmental issues

makes the book very much worth the reading. Pat Conroy writes, “there is no more unforgivable

crime in America” than for a town to make “the error of staying small” (The Prince of Tides,

New York: The Dial Press, 2005, 621). Unfortunately, this may be true, but at least in the case of

Winona, Texas, the small town need not be a corporate dumping ground.

KEN HADA

East Central University

Comments about the work

“We don’t like to look at children who are dying. It’s against the proper order of life. But to be told they are dying or suffering horribly because WE haven’t protected them is intolerable. Tammy Cromer-Campbell seduces us into looking at these deformed feet, mottled skins, shielded faces, and accusatory eyes by also slipping in pictures of laughter, productivity, and activism. If we act, there is hope. It is Cromer-Campbell’s own hope that infuses the pictures and gives them lasting value. They are a rich and fitting testament and call to us to care.” —Anne Wilkes Tucker, Gus and Lyndall Wortham Curator, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

 

 

“The unremitting power of Tammy Cromer-Campbell's art lies far beyond the faces and stories she has documented. Her images propel us through one Texas community's fight for survival while her vision, much like Goya's long before, suggests the universality of such human tragedy. The ecological and personal devastation of Winona goes far beyond what happened to these people and what they chose to do about it. Cromer-Campbell’s insightful photographs, while possessed of both a compelling beauty and a telling narrative, above all also give us fair warning: what happened here can happen anywhere, anytime, to any and all of us who must share the earth.” --Roy Flukinger, Curator of Photography, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas at Austin

 

"A powerful, intelligent, and ultimately moving body of work." -- Keith Carter, Photographer/Author/Professor, Lamar University, Beaumont, TX

 

Only when our hearts are moved can there be real change.That's why

Tammy Cromer-Campbell's photographs are so important. Now that I have

met the people of Winona, I cannot forget them. I will know that my

life is connected to theirs. For the toxic waste that went into their

bodies is a result of the collective lives of the rest of us. --Aileen Mioko Smith, Activist, Author, and Co-Author of W. Eugene Smith’s photo essay Minimata, Kyoto, Japan

 

Tammy Cromer-Campbell's photographs are haunting and compelling. She uses the very limitations of her toy cameras to her advantage, creating images that are as damaged--and yet full of life--as her subjects. -- Jim Motavalli, Editor, E/The Environmental Magazine

 

In the finest tradition of the best documentary photographers, Tammy Cromer-Campbell has fashioned a moving portrait of the lives destroyed in a small East Texas town by willful industrial pollution, and in so doing has helped remake the lives of some of its poorest citizens. --Hank O’Neal, Photographer/Jazz producer

 

"Fruit of the Orchard" marks an important contribution to contemporary conversations about the relationship between race, class, and the environment. The photographs and accompanying text that comprise the exhibit are a powerful example of environmental rhetoric, one that highlights the importance of visual imagery and cultural activism in the struggle for environmental justice. --John W. Delicath,U. S. Government

Accountability Office

 

AD Coleman

Photo Techniques

Sept/Oct 2005 pp32-35

Documentary Photography Today

Tending the Fire Striking New Sparks

 

... Advocacy or activist photographic work. Here I’d position work that seeks, in Karl Marx’s phrase, to help us not only to understand the world, but to change it. This includes such diverse projects as Gran Fury’s AIDS poster campaign, some of Hans Haacke’s and Krystof Wodiczko’s controversial installations, and Tammy Cromer-Campbell’s “Fruit of the Orchard,” an ongoing saga of corporate and governmental manfeascance deep in the heart of Texas. Such projects not only describe existing situations but trace cause-and-effect relationships, identify possible solutions, propose courses of action, and ask “Who profits?” – following money and pointing fingers at the culprits.

 

PHOTO Techniques

March/ April 2007

p. 5

 

Fruit of the Orchard : Environmental Justice in East Texas

By Tammy Cromer-Campbell

 

These photos, taken with a Holga plastic camera, prove that you don’t need expensive gear to take great photographs. These were taken in Winona, Texas, where a toxic waste plant was blamed for an increase in cancer and birth defects in humans and animals. The distortions and vignetting caused by the cheap plastic lens work with the dark mood of these 50 duotone images of children and families struggling, playing, and – sometimes – dying. (University of North Texas Press, 130 pages, $30)

 

Journal of the American Studies Association of Texas • Volume 38, November 2007

 

Cromer-Campbell, Tammy. Fruit of the Orchard: Environmental Justice in East Texas.

Essays by Phyllis Glazer et al. Denton: U of North Texas P, 2006. 130 pages. $29.95 cloth,

ISBN 13: 978-1-57441-215-4.

This collection of photos and essays combines to tell the successful story of a group of

concerned citizens who opposed a toxic waste facility in Winona, Texas. The collection

celebrates individual conscience and group action to protect a dear place. The company was

forced to close in 1997. A press release claimed the company “required a fourth-quarter

writedown of $7.4 million” (4).

The book functions, then, as a tribute to people who dared to stand against oppressive,

corporate waste. The genius of the book lies not merely in the big story, but in its ability to

capture the faces of ordinary citizens. The fifty one black and white photos, approximately two-

thirds of the book, evidence the vulnerability of those affected by the facility, thereby reminding

readers of the tremendous effort involved to repel the corporation. The photos illuminate the

innocent fears, often of unsuspecting children. The effects are powerful. One cannot also help

but notice that the photos demonstrate the inter-racial nature of the community. They suggest the

shared humanity that is at the mercy of ecological short-sightedness.

The photos are framed by essays. Some inform the reader of the particular situation of the

book, while others provide insight concerning “prevention” and “myths” of toxic waste. For

example, Dr. Marvin Legator, formerly in the Department of Preventive Medicine and

Community Health, Division of Environmental Toxicology, The University of TexasMedical

Branch at Galveston, writes: “The underlying assumption of toxic waste facilities, and frequently

state and federal agencies, is that they know more about the technical aspects of toxicology than

the victims of chemical exposure” (127). This book, at least, is one voice that counters such

arrogant presumption of which Dr. Legator speaks. The combination of visual and written

narrative, personal testimony and credible, expert witness concerning environmental issues

makes the book very much worth the reading. Pat Conroy writes, “there is no more unforgivable

crime in America” than for a town to make “the error of staying small” (The Prince of Tides,

New York: The Dial Press, 2005, 621). Unfortunately, this may be true, but at least in the case of

Winona, Texas, the small town need not be a corporate dumping ground.

KEN HADA

East Central University