New Photography Exhibit Explores Impacts Of The Fracking Boom

Jun 16, 2016


A town meeting at the Wilmington Township Municipal Building draws a large crowd -- including a number of residents from the Amish community. A number of gas wells, pipelines and compressor stations have been proposed for the area.
Credit Lynn Johnson

The story of the fracking boom in Pennsylvania and nearby states runs as an almost continuous narrative in the region’s press. But covering the blow-by-blow of new drilling sites, protests, lawsuits and regulations is just one way to look at how fracking has changed the region.

Back when unconventional natural gas drilling started gaining momentum, a group of photographers set out to gather a more personal perspective—by using photography to document the lives and landscapes that were being transformed by the drilling boom. The Marcellus Shale Documentary Project has collected hundreds of images since, many of which are included in a new exhibition titled “An Expanded View.” Co-curator Laura Domencic says a series by photographer Noah Addis reveals a sense of frustration in the subjects.

“They’re beautifully shot—the detail is incredible,” she says. “But they’re pretty haunting. They’ve been trying to tell these stories. I think they’ve had these conversations with people, and yet there’s not any response.”

Domencic says these and other photographs in the show help tell stories about people’s experiences with fracking that wouldn’t otherwise be heard.

“So oftentimes you hear history books are written by the winners of wars, or that sort of thing. And there is so much more to what’s going on than just what you hear the most of.”

The Marcellus Shale Documentary Project is also hosting a public forum with some of the artists on Thursday, June 16. The event starts at 6 p.m at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts (PCA). Admission is free for PCA members; $5 for non-members. You can find more details and RSVP here.

The Marcellus Shale Documentary Project is supported in part by the Pittsburgh Foundation and the Heinz Endowments, which also support The Allegheny Front.

Find more of this report on the site of our partner, Allegheny Front