Look at the ground, the water, the trees--this is why the locals call this marshy patch of land home, and why they fight to defend it. The borders of the unorganized township of Argyle, Maine, are formed by the Penobscot River and Birch Stream. Argyle is defined by the forested wetland it rests upon. Land-based interactions--hunting, fishing, foraging, subsistence farming, and logging--define daily existence for many Argylians, while space and independence inform their identities. Land is the reason they are here. Land is everything.

This past summer, a proposed landfill and waste facility threatened to dismantle this common thread of Argylian identity. Surrounded by and on top of water, Argyle is an unlikely location for a landfill. Faced with an irrevocably altered landscape, residents dropped their often-secluded lives and organized. The passion, intelligence, and cohesion of the township’s fight were unexpected.

Despite having no city council to support them and no town store to gather in, they won.

These images explore a deeply intentional connection to land that drives the continual struggle to defend it. Self-reliance is at the core of Argylian identity, and the land enables this independence. Contamination of the watershed represents an attack on a way of life and on an identity. With ongoing threats from industry and development, the fight to maintain their way of life does stop with this one success.    

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