Storage tanks Kensington, Ohio

Fracking the Land

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.

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 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

Tracks Carrollton, Ohio

School house tanks Carrollton, Ohio

Waiting in line Carrollton, Ohio

Hill Site Carrollton, Ohio

Protected pipes East Rochester, Ohio

All Images ©M Katie White 2016
All images ©M Katie White 2021