From our partners at Art Practical, today we bring you a review of Sarah Christianson‘s When the Landscape Is Quiet Again: North Dakota’s Oil Boom at SF Camerawork. Author Larissa Archer notes, “Christianson doesn’t try to appeal to emotions with her photographs. They encourage a process by which the viewer mentally forms a bridge between the damning information about the subjects (here, provided by the captions) and the seeming neutrality of the scenes themselves, rendering the personal and ecological tragedies conveyed so much greater than an appeal to sight alone.” This review was originally published on March 19, 2014.
No single photograph in Sarah Christianson’s When the Landscape Is Quiet Again: North Dakota’s Oil Boom gets one’s blood boiling. Her images of her home state—which has, in several booms since the early ’50s, changed from a predominantly agrarian economy to an industrial one based around oil extraction—elicit a slower-burning experience of rage. Rather than focusing on obvious signs of destruction, Christianson’s photographs (paired here with generously informative captions) collectively emphasize the insidiousness of the waste and danger that are often hiding in plain sight.