Sarah Catherine Craig

Documentary Photographer & Radio Journalist
Dreams of Dust
Location: California + Montana
Nationality: USA
Biography: Sarah Craig is a documentary photographer and multimedia storyteller based in Oakland, CA. A native of Bozeman, MT, she left the mountainous West to attend Vassar College on the East Coast, where she completed a B.A. in Geography. She attended... read on
Public Story
Dreams of Dust
Credits: sarah catherine craig
Date of Work: 08/01/15 - Ongoing
Updated: 05/25/18

Dreams of Dust is a documentary that explores the long-term effects of climate change and drought in the communities of California’s Central Valley. The project looks at how the drought is impacting communities in the Valley and specifically how it has placed stress on areas that have had an inadequate or unstable water source for years. The project looks at the reasons why these communities have been unstable to begin with, how the drought is leading to further instability and migration within and out of the Valley, and what will happen in the future if the area continues to become drier and drier – as is predicted in years to come. A selection of these images were published by High Country News in November 2016. 

The project began last summer under the searing heat of the California sun in the state’s Central Valley. I drove for miles on lone highways, past farmworkers picking fruit in the hot sun, past dust devils swirling in dry winds. Fields of cotton, tomatoes, and corn, and orchards of almonds, pistachios, and walnuts blurred by my window; I had never seen such farmland. But interspersed with the crops were also acres of brown. Brown, dry, tumbleweed-enticing land. After hours of driving, I arrived in the heart of the Valley to learn how residents were coping with the thousands of dry wells and fallowed land left in the wake of California’s five-year drought.

This summer, I saw the beginning of an exodus of farmworkers from the Valley and I also saw families trying to make ends meet so that they wouldn’t have to leave. I realized that the California dream – and its icon as a destination for those seeking wealth, adventure, or simply a better way of life – is threatened. The state is beginning to experience the effects of climate change, manifested by severe drought and warmer temperatures, and I saw that declining groundwater levels and a diminishing snow pack is already changing daily life for many Californians. Dreams of Dust aims to document the movement of people in the state due to these changes.

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By Sarah Catherine Craig —

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Coming To Die

By Sarah Catherine Craig — Between 1946 and '58, the United States detonated 67 nuclear bombs in the Marshall Islands, an archipelago of coral atolls in the South Pacific...
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patterns

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Drought Hit Okieville

By Sarah Catherine Craig — The small hamlet of Okieville got its name from those who headed to California to escape the 1930s Dust Bowl. Today, Okieville is one of the areas..
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Desert Superbloom

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chinatown

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Mysterious Brick Circles

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The Longest Smallest Voices

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Wanderjahr

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Will The Water Come

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Everything-Changed-Overnight

By Sarah Catherine Craig — Two years ago, two men with machetes broke into the Guerrette family home in Pittson, Maine and attached William Guerrette and his daughter, Nicole...
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Somehow, Someway

By Sarah Catherine Craig — Glenda St. Pierre spends her time going to doctors appointments, filling prescriptions, managing her own landscaping company, and driving back and..
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Great Works Dam

By Sarah Catherine Craig — Freshwater mussels, ancient sewing machines, vintage coke bottles, and the arrival of green sprigs of grass appear on the receding banks of the..
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Gulf Disaster

By Sarah Catherine Craig — April 20th, 2010 was the day the catastrophic BP Deepwater Horizon exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, becoming the largest marine spill in the history..
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Faces of Fracking

By Sarah Catherine Craig — Thousands of wells have been fracked across California — in cities, in farmland, next to schools, in the ocean, and in our National Forests...
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A Home Without Water

By Sarah Catherine Craig — After several months without a home, Hilda Garcia found a trailer to move into with her husband and daughter in a tiny community in California known..
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Nuclear Refugees

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