Just over a week ago, myself and seven other photographers tag teamed the small town Vernon, VT to learn more about the people who live there, and how their lives are (or are not) influenced by Vermont Yankee, the 40 year nuclear power plant that calls Vernon home. We spent one short six hour long day interviewing and photographing people, then created a short multimedia piece to share what we found, a rough version of which was shown the next day at a community forum about Vermont Yankee held at the Vermont Center for Photography, which sponsored the project. This 6 minute 54 second video is slightly more polished result of that presentation.
A special thanks needs to go out to photojournalist Michael Forster Rothbart for inspiring this project and also the Vermont Center for Photography for providing a wonderful venue for collaboration.
A small group of us who worked on this project together plan to continue investigating the relationship between small town Vernon and Vermont Yankee, using photography, audio, and video to tell the stories we uncover.
I live in a beautiful restored farmhouse in Chesterfield, New Hampshire, just six miles or so (as the crow flies) from an aging nuclear power plant in Vernon, Vermont. Vermont Yankee, nestled on the banks of the Connecticut River, opened its doors to power production in 1972, and its 40 year contract is set to expire next month. The nuclear reactor has been the subject of much debate; everyone seems to worry about the plant’s future. Many want to see it shut down, citing various environmental and health concerns and also controversial court decisions that some say pit the state against the federal government. Others worry about what will happen if the plant closes, fearing the loss of jobs and increased taxes that will result, as well as other economic and social impacts.
This weekend, I teamed up with photographers from the Vermont Center for Photography to learn a little bit more about Vernon and the people that live there. We spanned the small rural Vermont town, photographing and interviewing local farmers, business owners, town officials, and activists. Our goal was to tell the story of Vernon, not just Vermont Yankee. As we learned, there is more to the town than one nuclear power plant.
We found ourselves so inspired by what we heard, that a couple of the other photographers and I ended up working round-the-clock to piece together a multi-media presentation of our work, and more importantly, their stories. Just 27 hours after we began shooting, we presented a very rough version of at an open forum to discuss Vermont Yankee led by photojournalist Michael Forster Rothbart at the Vermont Center for Photography yesterday. Now, after roughly 36 hours of shooting, audio and photo editing, and compiling the final presentation, our piece is nearly complete; I am just waiting on final approval from my colleagues to show it to the world. Once all are happy with the final edit, which I completed at roughly 12:30AM last night, I will share the link to the video on my blog and website.