The rush to drill down and explode the ground in pursuit of energy is transforming the natural landscape in rural America. Photographing this kind of industrial activity presents a paradox. The visual spectacle is alluring, yet the effects are toxic and polluting. This form of natural gas drilling, also called fracking, is steeped in controversy and unknowns. In these images, all made in rural Pennsylvania, I sought to capture the strange beckoning and fear where the landscapes shifts from natural to industrial, where what appears as rays of sunshine are actually methane flares; where pitch dark dirt roads, end in a burst of artificial light. In this unsettling environment, I include portraits of individuals who are trapped amid this altered, contaminated landscape.
Nina Berman is an American photographer who has covered the conflict in Bosnia and Taliban-ruled Afghanistan. She now focuses attention on the aftermath of war and contemporary political, and social landscapes in the U.S. Her photographs and videos have been exhibited at over one hundred venues worldwide, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Zachęta National Gallery of Art in Poland, and Dublin Contemporary (IMMA).
She has received awards from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Open Society Foundations, World Press Photo, and Hasselblad, among others. She is an associate professor at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, and she is a member of NOOR photo agency.
NOOR is photography/film collective with twelve members located around the world committed to documenting critical contemporary issues through individual and group projects.