Environmental sociology is a sociological discipline that is aimed at the research, analysis and communication of the diverse societal and environmental interactions, and may take into account the diverse interactions among human societies and their environment (Environmental). There is an increasing need to examine the relationship of humans to that of their environment hence the development of “a considerable breadth of approaches examining the factors underlying environmental degradation and, more recently, social organizational arrangements promoting environmental improvement” (Humprey et al). On the other hand, sociology of the environment involves focus on the sociological study of environmental processes, as well as its relation to other social sciences.
David Goldbatt is a photographer who focuses much of his work on buildings and architectures in South African setting (Kismaric). In a way, he is more than a photographer as the concept of environmental sociology can be associated with much of his style and works; his arts emphasizes on structures that convey the ideas that inspired the resulting scenery. In one of his photographs under the group of Structures, Goldbatt photographed a south-east wing of a boarding-house that was intended for Black male workers. The photo despite being on its own, speaks of segregation practice in the society. Another of his photograph was that of a mother and child sleeping outdoors, after their shelter was demolished; while it conveys a message of helplessness one can also sense the peacefulness as both mother and child rested notwithstanding their living condition. This photograph showed how some people are suffering in their silence, with this woman and child opting to go to sleep after their shelter was demolished.
Though he is known as an architectural photographer, most of his photographs speak of an association with environmental sociology. He himself admitted on doing sociology, instead of architectural photography though his works often depicted structural designs. I agree that in a way, Polidori he is right. In capturing the remnants of the Katrina disaster, he asserted that his main intent in taking the photographs was to document what was left of the habitat (MacCash). One of his attractive photographs in New Orleans was at 6539 Canal Street, showed how he had skilfully captured the remnants of a room. Another one at 2520 Deslondes Street, he showed how garbage was piled in a room, a case of concern as these piles may cause health hazards. The photo entitled After the Flood, showed how housed became unsafe for dwelling, Polidori must have hope to get the attention of the government to act quickly on this matter.
During several of his travels Polidori captured remnants of houses such as at Samir Geagea HQ, it depicted a ruined building that many need demolition to avoid the risk of any accident. One picture showing an already old building, the photo was entitled Courtyard, Empedrado, illustrated how the structure needs further remodelling or renovation. Buildings like these needed a makeover for the well-being and safety of its inhabitants. The works of Polidori speaks of his skill and eye for photography, and he is not only a photographer but one who shows passion in creating better ways to express the predicament of people in his well captured photographs.
Nick Carr’s photography speaks more of environmental sociology more than a work of architecture. The photographs that appeared in his Scouting a New York City Neighbourhood where the Sidewalk Ends, he showed how Willets Point, a small place in New York turns out to be an rusty image as he headed into a small neighbourhood. His attention was initially caught by the car repair shops lined across the street and decided to explore further into the place.
Carr took photographs in the neighbourhood and documented how the car repair business has been propagated in the area. In one photograph labelled in his Scouting as 13115_EYE_11, he described the absence of stoplights and streetlights. He was surprised that a place like this existed in New York. The picture showed a strange place full of tin shacks and ramshackle garage (Carr). A photograph of a mountain of dead cars can be seen in this photo labelled 13115_EYE_07, no sight to behold in here and only showed the risks of dangers of the place such as the danger of the dead cars collapsing and also of the hazards of being cut by the edges of the decaying cars.
In photo 13115_EYE_12, Carr mentioned about the city no longer servicing the area. The photo itself showed a closed auto body shop and a dilapidated car. As described by Carr, the place is not the prettiest place in New York and his photographs served to be a documentary and a wake- up call for an immediate intervention to rehabilitate the place. Not only is the place a sore to the eye, but the nature of work in the place makes it very loud with the hammering and sizzling of machineries. Photograph 13115_EYE_25 showed a man bent on his welding works without the aid of any protective gear. In one photograph, he captioned it to be “one of the nicer lots” he came across (Carr). The picture was labelled 13115_EYE_11, and the reason why Carr thought it to be nicer among the others is the presence of trees. It is truly relaxing how the presence of plants can at least enliven an environment.
Carr, N., Scouting a New York City Neighbourhood Where the Sidewalk Ends. Retrieved from www.slate.com
Environment. Environmental Sociology. Retrieved from www.environment.gen.tr
Humprey, R., Lewis, T., Buttel, F., Environment, Energy, and Society: A New Synthesis. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Group, 2002
Kismaric, S. David Golbatt Photographs from South Africa. Retrieved from moma.org
MacCash, D., Robert Polidori defends his post-K decisions. Retrieved from http://blog.camera80.ro/robert-polidori-new-orleans-after-the-flood