Ansley West Rivers is a photographer from Atlanta, Georgia. She received her MFA from the California College of the Arts and her BFA from the University of Georgia. She currently lives and works with her husband on their farm on the coast of Georgia.
Regarding her current body or work, Seven Rivers, Ansley reflects:
"This series of photographs captures the watersheds of seven rivers—the Colorado, Missouri/Mississippi, Columbia, Rio Grande, Tuolumne, Altamaha, and the Hudson—and considers the fragile state of fresh water across the United States.
The project began during a life changing twenty-five day float through the Grand Canyon. My trip ended at Lake Mead where the canyon ends and the river is dammed. Leaving the canyon was heartbreaking. I had lived surrounded by the canyon walls for three weeks so the abrupt transition was disorienting. The comfort of the walls and the rocking of the flowing river had become the soothing feeling of home. The sudden end of the river into the stagnant waters of the lake broke my heart in multiple ways.
I spent the last two nights on the Lake. I left the vibrant sounds of the living canyon to the dying sounds of an eroding riverbank. At night, it was hard to sleep with the crashing of the banks into the water. The illusion of serenity and untamed wilderness was dismantled upon my entrance into the Lake.
My belief in a wild, free flowing river was shattered. And thus I began Seven Rivers.
The photographs are not aimed at documentation but rather the depiction of unseen changes occurring on all rivers.
We stand at a precipice in the history of water. How we approach the health and use of our rivers now will determine the lifespan of fresh water. Rivers across the world are experiencing changes in water levels, temperature, wildlife and saltwater intrusion. The series depicts images that are simultaneously beautiful and haunting in an attempt to challenge the viewer’s perspectives on the landscapes that sustain us."