About Moriel O'Connor
Moriel O’Connor began working as an independent photographer in 2018 after a decade of study and practice. While much of Moriel’s work showcases movement and performance, they also focus on street and environmental photography and offer portrait, fashion and product photography. Their environmental and street photography is known to show both beauty and sadness, often displaying irony and resilience through times of poverty, natural disaster and civil unrest. Moriel is often seen with one camera and one lens in a vintage leather hard-case. Through vagrancy and diaspora, Moriel has always found shelter in painting with light. Find their work published in Hey Alma, JewThink, Jweekly, BolderBeat, Flood Magazine, Steemit, and Inner Sleeve Magazine. Currently based on Occupied Duwamish land on Beacon Hill, Seattle.
This photo was taken in November 2020 in Talent, Oregon on the ancestral homelands of the Shasta and Takelma peoples. Much devastation and displacement was caused by forest fires and climate disaster and this photo shows a peek into the aftermath. Almost the entire town of Talent was taken aflame and this specific neighborhood had no remaining homes. I was passing through and wanted to sit with the land and document the damage. I found myself taking notice of what survived the fires, such as a tin can or a porcelain tea cup. I came across these scorched but still standing garden sculptures- a child angel and a water bearer. I felt something often difficult to conjure- hope. I wondered, “Who will fetch the water?” and was met with feminine and youthful reminders. This scene relates to Shmita in a number of ways. We must recognize and honor the necessity for rest and repair when the Earth has been burning more than ever. The open fridge in the background can also represent this Shmita year. In a time where food is scarce for many, we must share our resources and work to combat the systems that leave families, individuals and entire ecosystems dry. I hope this photo serves as a source of inspiration and reflection.