A Cautionary Tale - Human Accumulations
This unique and multi-layered project tells the moving story of one of America’s greatest natural wonders: Niagara Falls.
Once a symbol of natural magnificence, the site has been fought over by businessmen and officials seeking to profit from the waterfalls for industry and tourism, and conservationists wanting to protect it. Human Accumulations explores how fascination led to exploitation, and the fall from grace of one of America’s most famous icons.
When HG Wells visited the world-famous Niagara Falls in 1906, it was a place of wonder and inspiration. But Wells saw something that many did not:
“The real interest of Niagara Falls for me was not in the waterfall, but in the human accumulations about it. For they stood for the future.”
At the time, Niagara Falls was a jewel in the crown of North America provoking fascination and awe in equal measure among artists, writers, travellers, engineers and entrepreneurs from all over the world.
Today, Niagara Falls, New York, is one of the most polluted cities in the United States. Across the river, Niagara Falls, Ontario, is a Vegas-style amusement park.
How did this come to be? And what, if anything can be done? Working with curator Jenny Christensson, Alan sets out to document the Niagara Falls of today, using photography and in-depth interviews with officials and residents.
The project also tells a personal story. Human Accumulations was inspired by the paintings of Niagara Falls by Alan’s ancestor, Hudson River School artist, Regis Gignoux.
Human Accumulations will become a photobook and an exhibition.
You can follow the project by visiting Jenny Christensson’s Human Accumulations blog.