HARD SHALE DAY
After a long hard day at work, who doesn't want a nice cold one? As pumps pull more and more oil and gas out of the Bakken shale, western North Dakota and eastern Montana are booming. Increasing numbers of oil and gas workers move to the cities and towns growing from the Williston Basin. While some workers come temporarily, lured by the prospects of high income, some also stay and raise families. This photo series attempts to document the blurred boundaries between the Bakken's hydrocarbon and social landscapes. The geometrical architecture and topography of oil and gas one observes driving along the highways of North Dakota anticipate the geometrical architecture and topography of the prairie suburb. Cylindrical storage tanks and rectangular containers - their shape and colour - are mimicked by the endless trailer parks, suburban townhouses and rows upon rows of single family homes. All of the structures oddly radiate beige and off-white - a stark contrast to the dynamic and vibrant big skies above. Socializing - taking walks, playing sports - takes place in a highly landscaped garden and grass environment. Some of the grass in town is astroturf. These landscapes are not the extensive deep rooted grass ecosystems that used to thrive in these windblown places. They are shallow pansies and begonias, beautiful to pick. Bakken families do not stay forever though. Following the price fluxes of West Texas Intermediate, families eventually leave, dumping their trailers, prefabricated homes and posessions in informal waste sites. All roads lead to the Richland County Fair Grounds and the PBR Rodeo Tour! Cracking a nice cold one sounds good right about now, doesn't it?
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