The construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) garnered national and international attention and consternation as a result of protests from members of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and numerous Native and Non-Native supporters. Protestors argued that the pipeline’s crossing over the Missouri River would jeopardize the reservation’s water supply and invoke further damage to sacred sites already wrought by contractors. In spite of ongoing legal challenges, on March 27th, 2017, Energy Transfer Partners completed construction on the four-state, 1,172 mile pipeline.
For individuals such as myself who grew up in a suburban environment, massive infrastructure projects such as the DAPL are abstractions. I benefit from the resources they transport and the costs of such delivery systems are born by others in far away places. As an increasing number of Americans locate to coastal settings, my own experience is shared by many.
Beginning in Fall 2016 I followed the pipeline route in North Dakota and photographed the landscapes it traversed. I wanted to see what construction looked like at the landscape-level and view the range and agricultural landscapes reshaped by its insertion.
This collection of photographs profiles the path of the pipeline in one of the four states it crosses. The project does not attempt to be comprehensive in nature, but to contribute a broader context for a highly politicized topic. The images highlight the physical disruption of the landscape it traverses as well as surrounding environments and together the series examines the ways in which documentary images of land can provide context to current debates related to land-use and natural resource extraction.