Saturday 6 April 2013



Spill, by Daniel Beltra, at the Gallery of Photography, Dublin.

Beltra is a photographer and environmental specialist who often works for Greenpeace. He prefers aerial photography because it offers a humbling perspective, often showing the beauty of the natural world, but in the case of a disaster it can be very unsettling.

The world's worst offshore oil spill, killing 11 people, marine life and devastating hundreds of miles of coastline is powerfully portrayed in the two photographs below. Beltra said that it was only from this height that the magnitude of the spill became apparent. The clean-up operation was 'like trying to clean an Olympic pool full of oil while sitting on the side using Q-tips', he said.

Oil Spill, no. 17.

A ship cuts through a heavy band of petroleum on the surface of the water. A substantial layer of oily sediment stretches for dozens of miles in all directions from the oilhead. (6 of May 2010, Gulf of Mexico, United States).

The surface of the ocean is marbled with spectacular, iridescent blue and flashes of orange that resemble molten rock, and the ship, a tiny speckle.

Oil Spill, No. 1.

A plume of smoke rises from a burn of collected oil. A total of 411 controlled burns were used to try to rid the Gulf of the most visible surface oil. (17 June 2010, Gulf of Mexico, United States).

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