Dangerous Waters investigates the architecture and surrounding landscapes of the Tennessee Valley Authority’s (TVA) hydroelectric program and considers the tenuous balance between locations that were designed for both hydroelectric generation and public recreation. The photographs question the relevancy and success of socialized utility and service-oriented regional development. Informed by the agency’s complicated history, the images visualize how these locations are culturally and socially defined four generations after their creation. While these dams remain active components of TVA’s power production, they also stand as monoliths that represent a style of government that is increasingly hard to find. This portfolio interprets TVA’s built environment and documents how these engineered landscapes are utilized by both the community and the utility company that operates them. While many of these dams were designed to be symbols of social and economic prosperity, they also retain visual reminders of loss, population removal, and eminent domain. Thus, the accompanying recreational land is a civic contract to the descendants of those families that were relocated and to the memory of inundated ancestral land.
Book By Micah Cash