Exposure: An expedition to the oil threatened Gulf Coast

Using photography to better our world is a novel thought for some but for others it’s a way of life. I often think about the possibilities of using my photography skills to help.  Because of daily tasks and commitments my big ideas and good intentions usually get whittled down to occasionally volunteering my skills for events held by local organizations. Not nearly enough in my book.

Phil Nesmith, a 2004 RMSP Career Training graduate, is taking his photography and art to a whole new level of environmental consciousness. Phil is currently photographing the oil spill and its effects on the gulf coast. While many photographers are documenting this environmental disaster, his images will be incredibly unique. Phil uses the collodion, or wet plate, photographic process to capture his images.  This time-consuming and challenging process  results in hauntingly beautiful images. To see more about this process watch this great youtube video.

Phil began his project, Exposure: An expedition to the oil threatened Gulf Coast, in Louisiana on June 8th and he completed his final day of shooting on June 26th at the BP oil rig.  To see his logged updates from this project visit his Kickstarter project page or his Facebook page. To see more of Phil’s work, visit his website philnesmith.com and his blog philnesmith.wordpress.com/

4 thoughts on “Exposure: An expedition to the oil threatened Gulf Coast



Thanks for posting this. I just got back two days ago, and getting ready to head west in a couple of days so it may be a while before I fully process the experience and the work I made in Louisiana.

Updates have been published to Kickstarter from the field, but those were for backers only. Less detailed versions of those updates appeared at Facebook status updates. Because of access issues from the Gulf Coast I did not get to provide the amount of information about what I was doing like I wished, many times the Kickstarter updates were dictated over the phone to my wife who posted them for me. Now that I am back, I have been posting a few images to Flickr, and will be making some detailed post to my blog.

I brought home 60 exposed plates, of which around 32 are worth looking at a bit closer to see if they will make the final cut. The total number of plates exposed was not recorded, but must be around the 90 mark. The plates still need to be varnished and scanned so lots of work remains, in addition to cleaning up after being on the road with the darkroom for three weeks.

We leave for out westward road trip on Friday, and will be passing through Missoula next week. I hope to see you then.


Profile photo of Page Orb Pedde

Page Orb Pedde

Great interview Phil! I can’t wait to see more of the plates.

Flow: Wet Collodion Photographs of the Gulf Oil Spill : Paper Airplanes

[…] June we posted an article about Phil Nesmith’s incredible work on the Gulf Coast’s Oils Spill. Now we are lucky enough to have a collection of his work hanging in the RMSP Gallery for the next […]

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