Documentary photographer and educator, Carlan Tapp, to Travel Route 66 on Harley Sportster Nightster
Santa Fe, New Mexico- March 2011: Documentary photographer and educator, Carlan Tapp, will ride a Harley Davidson XL 1200 Sportster Nightster from Chicago to Santa Monica, California, along historic Route 66, the Mother Road of America, to raise money for Question of Power, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness of the effects of coal-fired energy on the health of individuals, families, and communities. Concerned citizens, photographers, and bikers are invited to join Tapp along the 2450-mile ride and to pledge support for Question of Power.
Tapp, who uses his camera to document social and environmental issues, began work on Question of Power in 2005, to raise awareness among people living in areas affected by the mining and burning of coal. Through interviews, photographs, outreach to schools, and museum exhibits, Tapp has shown the often-ignored reality of living in communities where coal is mined and burned in power plants. 'My mission is to photograph human stories of individuals, families, and communities affected by the extraction, production, and consumption of coal to create electricity in America,' says Tapp.
Question of Power has taken Tapp to the Navajo Nation in northern New Mexico, where mining and coal-fired energy production have degraded living conditions and affected people's health for over 40 years. He has also shown the effects of dumping coal ash - the waste product of coal-fired energy - in the communities of Bokoshe, OK, Uniontown, AL, and Kingston, TN. Tapp's online journal, Portrait USA, highlights these efforts with frequent posts from the communities he visits and photographs.
Tapp will start his fund-raising motorcycle ride on May 21, 2011, in Chicago, IL, and reach Santa Monica, CA, on June 14. He chose Route 66 because 'its creation symbolized a spirit of optimism and it demonstrated that a major engineering project could co-exist with the surrounding landscape.' Route 66, dubbed 'the Mother Road' by John Steinbeck in his book, 'Grapes of Wrath,' has long attracted travelers and adventurers for its access to communities across the American heartland.
During the ride, Tapp will lead a travelling workshop from Adrian, Texas, to Tucumcari, New Mexico. Participants will photograph the people, places, and things that evoke the feeling of historic Route 66. The June 1-4 workshop entry fee is tax-deductable.