Daily News Archive
December 05, 2005
Shows the Hidden Paths of Pesticides
(Beyond Pesticides, December 5, 2005) Photographer
Laurie Tümer’s work offers a snapshot of the ubiquitous presence
of pesticides. Ms. Tümer has been making images that expose the
presence of synthetic pesticides since 1998, when she suffered near-fatal
poisoning after her New Mexico home was sprayed. While recovering, Ms.
Tümer discovered the work of Richard Fenske, Ph.D., a professor
of environmental health at the University of Washington’s School
of Public Health and Community Medicine. Dr. Fenske uses fluorescent
tracer dyes and ultraviolet light to demonstrate how pesticides can
spread to agricultural workers' skin, even when protective gear is worn.
By spraying tracers
on her shoes and walking through her garden, or superimposing dyes onto
landscape-scale canvases, Ms. Tümer uses a similar technique to
illustrate how and where pesticides travel. The result of her work,
a growing collection she calls "Glowing Evidence," is at once
startling and stunning -- she compares the patterns in it to constellations.
Critics who've seen her images exhibited in Santa Fe have called them
eerie, compelling, ingenious, and haunting.
Ms. Tümer's 25-year photographic career, including a current collaboration
with a blind poet, has focused on "seeing the invisible,"
and was featured in a 2003 documentary of that name. But as work like
hers becomes more visible, she says so-called political art is really
nothing new. In fact, she traces her work to cave drawings. Like that
ancient art form, Ms. Tümer says, her photographs are a forum for
processing information, conveying dismay, and warning others.
photographs are available at http://www.laurietumer.com/