Thomas C. Yaroch

Thomas C. Yaroch Bio

Thomas C. Yaroch is in pursuit of a B.F.A in photography; attending instruction via Miami International University of Art and Design, while living and working in the Florida Keys. Although, experimenting with various styles, the photo essay is becoming the center of his concentrations, largely focusing his efforts upon his community, drawing inspiration, and knowledge, from a range of photographers and their styles. A consummate wanderer, Tom employs his camera to create stylized documents of an area he currently calls home, recording the time and the place, the character and characteristics of the Florida Keys, commuting into Miami to complete his studies.

Tom is currently a junior level student, planning to advance on to graduate studies.

Artist Statement

Common Ground: A No Name power struggle

To be able to harvest the energy delivered by the sun would seem to be the most honest and practical approach to providing electrical power, except it is not; the technology and consumer practices are not quite in agreement. Refrigerators, cook tops, air conditioning, lighting, they all have a definite draw, requiring the need for generators and a large bank of batteries to store energy, which can be hazardous and expensive to operate, never mind the carbon footprint left behind. This is the trouble of No Name Key, a 1,000-acre island a few miles off US/1 in the lower keys of Florida, where 43 homes have been built, none with potable water nor commercial electricity.

For decades, property owners have been waiting for the right, or perhaps the privilege to electricity, even forming a LLC to push their cause, and for decades, their attempts have been ignored, denied or otherwise thwarted despite the power lines being just over the bridge. The conflict lies with a small band of residents fixed to remain off the grid, believing that they will serve as a model community for self-sustaining green energy and do not wish to see the island polluted with power poles, trucks and the work crews that naturally follow development. On the other side-the majority simply want to live comfortably in the homes that they have worked long and hard for, to enjoy their retirement or second home.

At the heart of the issue are the Key Deer and the federally protected land they inhabit. Of all the islands of the Keys, No Name and Big Pine have the largest sources of fresh water due to various sinkholes filled with rainwater, a critical element in the survival of the deer. The concern is that if No Name Key is allowed to progress with development the less likely the Key Deer, along with other endangered species, will adapt and survive. An idea that lead to the halt of commercial mining of the islands limestone in 2009. Regardless of the opposition, the power poles have been installed, grounded and trimmed for future connection, only no wires. The act was done upon clarification from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stating that the presence of the poles would not affect the habitat, a green light, but not quite, their presence is currently being contested in the courts.

Despite the official outcome of the power struggle, a few thoughts become evident while wandering No Name Key; the importance of preservation and that you cannot stop progress. Finding the common ground would seem to be the most difficult task.

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