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, in many ways, not much has changed since the project first started back in 2010: Health issues and the industrial footprint that fracking imposes on rural landscapes remain familiar themes. But she says it’s also important to continue this work to gather a broad perspective on an issue that will no doubt have a lasting impact on the region. “When you document something, it helps tell that story for generations to come,” she says. “And not that this is the entire story, but this is a part of the story that wouldn’t be heard otherwise.”
For more commentary on the new exhibition, listen to our interview with Laura Domencic. And special thanks to the Marcellus Shale Documentary Project for use of the photos below.
LISTEN: Co-curator Laura Domencic talks about the new exhibition of the Marcellus Shale Documentary Project
Want to learn more? On Thursday, June 16, Martha Rial, Scott Goldsmith, Noah Addis and Brian Cohen of the Marcellus Shale Documentary Project will be participating in a public discussion about the group’s new exhibit. 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. Also, an editor’s note: The Marcellus Shale Documentary Project and The Allegheny Front both receive financial support from the Pittsburgh Foundation and the Heinz Endowments.