e-newsletter
digital edition
product info
advertise
Mcgraw Hill Construction
comment

Currents:

Dangerous Beauty

Gulf of Mexico

By Anna Fixsen
July 2014
Courtesy Daniel Beltrá
Beltr spent approximately one month in 2010 photographing the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Days after the Deepwater Horizon oil rig erupted in April 2010, Spanish-born environmental photographer Daniel Beltrá, on assignment from Greenpeace, flew to Louisiana, chartered a Cessna, and strapped on his camera. Two thousand feet above the Gulf of Mexico, Beltrá witnessed one of the worst environmental catastrophes in history—the sunken BP rig gushing hundreds of millions of gallons into the ocean.

----- Advertising -----

Beltrá's initial assignment turned into his own monthlong project. In the dozen subsequent flights he took over the Gulf, Beltrá captured some of the most memorable images of the disaster: marble-like slicks of brown, orange, and red (some fluorescent due to chemical dispersants, he suspects); black smoke rising off controlled burning areas; boats with iridescent wakes. The images, in their abstractness, exude a terrifying beauty. "I love images when it's not very clear what is happening; it creates an interaction with a viewer," he says.

An image of oil-drenched pelicans won Beltrá the prestigious Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year award in 2011. Now, after the photographs have toured the globe in several exhibitions, Beltrá is releasing them in a book titled Spill. Wary of the abstract images being categorized as fine art, Beltrá doesn't want his work to exist in a vacuum. "I'd rather have the work seen by a lot of people, hoping to inspire a dialogue," he says.

Though the spill occurred four years ago, the effects are still being felt. In June, BP began paying medical claims to those sickened by the spill. In July, researchers found lesions on the bodies of fish.

Currently Beltrá is documenting shrinking ice caps in the Arctic Circle, observing the toll of global warming firsthand. He hopes his images will be a wake-up call, adding, "What we do makes a difference."

Keywords:

 Reader Comments:

Sign in to Comment

To write a comment about this story, please sign in. If this is your first time commenting on this site, you will be required to fill out a brief registration form. Your public username will be the beginning of the email address that you enter into the form (everything before the @ symbol). Other than that, none of the information that you enter will be publically displayed.

We welcome comments from all points of view. Off-topic or abusive comments, however, will be removed at the editors’ discretion.
----- Advertising -----
Click here to go to product info Page
Sweets, Search Building Products
Search
Reader Feedback
Most Commented Most Recommended
Rankings reflect comments made in the past 14 days
Rankings reflect comments made in the past 14 days
Recently Posted Reader Photos

View all photo galleries >>
Recent Forum Discussions

View all forum discusions >>