Photos of badlands and oil drilling operations near the Black Place, by Jonathan Thompson/gin+gelato
I heard that oil drilling rigs were getting close to Georgia O’Keeffe’s Black Place. Before that, I never knew exactly where the place was. Now I do, so I went there, and sat on a dune, and listened to the wail of the highway and the fracking operation nearby. Then I wrote about it.
Photo by Jonathan P Thompson/gin+gelato
The awesome and terrifying beauty of the gas patch. My latest for High Country News.
Photos by Jonathan Thompson/gin+gelato
Contrails feather out across the hard-blue February sky, and the unforgiving light of mid-morning accentuates the bright reds, oranges, and synthetic blues of the fake flowers at the foot of scattered headstones, mostly engraved with Hispanic names. A Virgen de Guadalupe statue, hands clasped together, miniature rosary and cross hanging from her neck, stares down at the dirt, sun-cracked and blemished by not one blade of grass or weed or leaf, as though this cemetery is both meticulously cared for and utterly ignored, all at once. A constant high roar, or perhaps a hiss, drowns out the sound of my camera’s shutter click, as I’m careful not only to get the shrine in the frame, but also the condenser towers, like giant robot phalli, looming frighteningly close.