My photographic projects focus on our built environment in order to bring attention to social issues, particularly those related to urban development, income inequality, and our use of natural resources. For my contribution to the “Marcellus Shale Documentary Project”, I chose to document the physical changes occurring to the landscape as a result of shale gas production. While the drilling rigs are a dramatic and visible symbol of energy production, a vast infrastructure of pipelines, compressor stations and other installations is also being constructed. This infrastructure will remain in place even after the initial drilling boom is over and it could forever change what was primarily a rural, agricultural landscape.
At the start of the project I knew little about hydraulic fracturing – the process of injecting water and chemicals deep into the shale formation to extract natural gas. However, the more I spoke with people across rural Pennsylvania, the more I realized how they were being affected by the practice. With their cooperation I made a small series of portraits of people who have been directly affected by gas production activities. The people I photographed, like many in the region, have had serious health problems that they claim are a result of nearby drilling and hydraulic fracturing.
With one exception, repeated requests for information and photographic access from the gas companies were ignored, making it difficult to present their side of the story.
Noah Addis has been working as an artist, photojournalist and documentary photographer for more than fifteen years. His work has been published in major publications including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Time, Newsweek, People, US News & World Report, Life’s Year in Pictures, and many others. Addis graduated Magna Cum Laude from Drexel University in Philadelphia with a degree in photography. He also studied at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in Portland, Maine. He is currently represented by the Corbis photo agency in New York.