Eileen Counihan uses her art to raise awareness of issues that are of importance to her. She uses her creative talents and images to try to make positive change in the world.
Why? Just (be) cause.
Because she can do something. For a just cause.
As a lifelong visual artist, Counihan is a true believer in the old adage "a picture is worth a thousand words". Eileen is passionate about using her photography to draw attention to environmental and human rights challenges.
Eileen Counihan has always given back to causes that were important to her. She's recognized for donating her art and services to many non-profit groups, ranging from the local Peregrine Theatre Ensemble in Provincetown to the Pan-Mass Challenge in support of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.
She is an avid supporter of national LGBT organizations such as Human Rights Campaign and GLAAD, and has donated time and artwork to them for many years. On a personal note, Eileen actively campaigned to support marriage equality; when it was legalized in Massachusetts on May 17, 2004, she and her partner were among the first couples to get married in the US on that first day, surrounded by their 10 year old son and family and friends.
From her countless nights spent in the wilderness over the years, Eileen has seen the impact of environmental degradation and climate change on the most pristine places.
For example, Counihan needs to travel further distances for her night photography because the skies aren’t as dark, tainted with light pollution from cities.
Many of the Giant Redwood and Sequoia trees that she photographed in California in 2013 have now been lost to fires due to rising temperatures and droughts. During that trip, the U.S. Government 2013 shutdown closed all U.S. National Parks, Forests, Seashores, and Monuments. Although this significantly limited her access to the Redwoods, she was undeterred. Eileen took direct action in protest of the U.S. Government inaction. She hiked back into Sequoia National Forest just after midnight to spend the night among the Giant Redwoods of California, ultimately capturing what has since become her most collected piece, aptly named Big Red.
Big Red, Sequoia National Forest, Trail of 100 Giants, California
Eileen has always believed that our National Parks and public lands should always be available for each of us to use and enjoy.
After that experience, Counihan became even more motivated to focus on raising consciousness around environmental issues.
In 2016, she decided to take another direct action and ventured to North Dakota to support the Standing Rock Sioux and their diverse coalition comprised of hundreds of other Indigenous Tribes and their allies in support of their protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). Since then, she continues to support the work of the Water Protectors.
Eileen Counihan continues to utilize her photography to try and make positive change by sharing her images and supporting other activists.