Nina Berman, “Dana Dolney and other anti-shale gas-drilling protestors are locked out of a public meeting of the Governorʼs Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission. Protestors were eventually allowed to enter and give brief testimonies. Harrisburg, 2011”, archival pigment print, 33×41”.

Nina Berman

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 those who are trapped amid this altered, contaminated landscape.

Nina Berman is a documentary photographer with a primary interest in the American political and social landscape. Her work has been extensively published, exhibited, and collected. She has received awards in art and journalism from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the World Press Photo Foundation, and the Open Society Institute documentary photography fund among others. Her images of wounded American veterans from the Iraq War are internationally known with recent exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art 2010 Biennial, the Milano Triennale, the New Orleans Museum of Art and Princeton University. She is the author of two monographs, Purple Hearts – Back from Iraq, and Homeland, both published by Trolley. She is a member of the NOOR photo collective based in Amsterdam. She lives in New York City.