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Fracking the Land

Storage tanks - Kensington, Ohio

Fracking the Land shows the beauty of nature contrasted against the destructive impact of human progress. Images in the series depict natural landscapes with subtle human alterations, their machinations quietly blending into a living aesthetic. I pair these images with photographs from my family farm in Ohio where they have leased the land usage rights of our farm to a hydraulic fracking company. Although our farm has yet to be used for hydraulic fracking it is only a matter of time before it is.

The impact of hydraulic fracking reaches far beyond the wells used to extract oil. There are steel mills that fabricate the pipes needed to penetrate the earth. The most consequential issue is the disposal of the chemical-laced post-fracking brine. A veritable cocktail of toxic chemicals and oil, this brine emits radiation and also has three times the salinity of standard salt water. This liquid is usually disposed of in a system of open-air ponds where it slowly drains back into the earth while emitting radiation. However many ponds are filled beyond capacity causing too much pressure in the old well which then creates earthquakes and contaminated aquifers. Even the mining of the silica sand poses a range of threats to environmental and human health, as it is collected using a method similar to mountain top removal which causes a variety of health complications for those people who breathe in the resulting dust.

I’ve long been an opponent of hydraulic fracking, and my work Fracking the Land reflects this. There is a deceptive beauty that lives in the tension between the natural world and these quiet but destructive incursions. It is the goal of this project to capture that beauty, while revealing the coiled predator lurking beneath.

M. Katie White

Flags of Fracking - Carrollton, Ohio

Hidden Warnings

Silica Pond - Portage, Wisconsin

Silica Crane - Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin

Hidden site - Canton, Ohio

Hills of Silica - Pardeeville, Wisconsin

Mining Signs

Large Site - East Canton, Ohio

“LEAVE OUT” - Wooster, Ohio

Danger - Canton, Ohio

In the distance - East Canton, Ohio

Park & Brine Storage - Canton, Ohio

False Mountains - Pardeeville, Wisconsin

Silica Mining - Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin

Silica Pond - Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin

Truck Entrance - Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin

Warning Signs - Hanoverton, Ohio

Gas Pipes & deer - Waynesburg, Ohio

Trailer - Lowellville, Ohio

Site in the distance - East Rochester, Ohio

Fork in the road - East Rochester, Ohio

Brine pond - Canton, Ohio

Tracks - Wooster, Ohio

Corn Site - Carrollton, Ohio

Hidden pipe - Carrollton, Ohio

Fracking tower - Carrollton, Ohio

Fall fracking - Carrollton, Ohio

Pipe clearing - Carrollton, Ohio

Gas Pipes - Carrollton, Ohio

Out of view - Carrollton, Ohio

Special tree - Carrollton, Ohio

Entrance tracks - Carrollton, Ohio

School house tanks - Carrollton, Ohio

Waiting in line - Carrollton, Ohio

Hill Site - Carrollton, Ohio

Protected pipes - East Rochester, Ohio