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Photographer Highlights Florida's Waterways

Doc fishing; Tate's Hell State Forest
Lynne Buchanan
Doc fishing in Tate's Hell State Forest

Photographer Lynne Buchanan spent her childhood in Sarasota, but has since traveled all over the world making images. She recently returned to her home state to create an extraordinary book of photographs called Florida’s Changing Waters: A Beautiful World in Peril. She says she was interested in showing the world how much her home state has changed, especially when it comes to water quality.

"When I grew up, I had asthma, so they sent me to the beach to breathe fresh air. No you can't go to the beach if you have respiratory issues. You used to put your arm in the water if you had a cut," Buchanan said. "Now if you put your arm in the water with a cut, you could die."

It’s an important issue to look at—not just here, she said, but all over the country.

"Florida is really a bellwether for the rest of the country. It's getting warmer here first, we relaxed a lot of policies first... it’s a bellwether for everything else that’s going to happen," Buchanan said.

As she traveled the waterways statewide to create the book, she found the widespread presence ofred tide and cyanobacteriaalarming, as they not only throw off the ecosystem but affect tourist dollars and quality of life for people who live here.

"There’s a giant economic impact," she said. "People don’t want to go in the water. Even in their beach homes. That's a big problem."

She saw some hopeful progress in her travels. too.

"Nature can heal itself in many ways. Mangroves are fantastic. They filter so much water and hold soil in place. Oysters can filter 50 gallons of water a day, which is phenomenal," she said.

As we head into election season, it’s important to know what’s happening with our water, as it affects us all.

"Water should not be a partisan issue. We all drink water, we all eat fish. We need to elect people who will really follow through and find solutions," she said.

Lynne Buchanan’s Florida’s Changing Waters: A Beautiful World in Peril is available wherever you buy books.