Artist Statement This photo essay on Lake Hartwell began in late August of 2012. My aim was to take pictures of a subject that would stir peopleâ€™s emotions due to the decline in the water levels of the lake. I drove until I was lost and found a boat ramp for the lake and pulled over. I was shocked at the water level, the debris and the erosion of the shoreline and I was most intrigued when I found a tree stump with the age rings protruding out and small blades of grass growing in the spaces between the rings. It goes to show that the environment is resilient and can still hang on to life in extreme conditions. The lake has been declining for many months and it has taken a major toll on the wildlife, property values, and tourism. The photographs illustrate that there is beauty in the ugliness of environmental turmoil. These images also go to show that we make choices of what we think is important. Obviously the lake isnâ€™t high the stateâ€™s list of important issues. It is simply being ignored and trashed. The Lake Hartwell Dam was completed in 1962 by the US Army Corps of Engineers to prevent millions of dollars worth of flood damage, and to provide electricity and water, but it comes with a different kind of cost, the cost of creating something beautiful in nature and having to destroy it over and over. As of the end of November 2012, the lake was recorded at being nine feet lower than average for this time of year. It is up to the viewer to decide whether they believe there is something to be done to protect Lake Hartwell and its inhabitants.