On one side of the frame is ethereal autumn forest. As your eye travels toward the top of the photo, a stark line. The golden foliage ends abruptly, and you are staring at Mordor right out of Lord of the Rings: black and gray ash hills amid fetid pools of oily muck and belching smokestacks.
Such is the visual journey that photographer Garth Lenz, who grew up in British Columbia, took over the notorious oil sands of the Peace Athabasca Delta to observe the industrial development known as the Alberta Oil Sands. Now he brings them to those of us who do not have physical access to the massive wound in Canada’s boreal forest that would furnish our replacement for Middle Eastern oil, if western industry and political leaders would have their way.
His photo series, Canada’s Tar Sands and the True Cost of Oil, won first place in a photo competition at Social Documentary.net, Ten Years After Nine/Eleven: Searching for a 21st Century Landscape. It is on display through September 16 at the PowerHouse Arena in Brooklyn, part of a larger show that connects the U.S.’s so-called oil addiction to the events of September 11, 2001. A reception will be held on Saturday, September 10, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. to showcase the exhibit and the connection.
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