Critical Mass Top 50, 2011

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Daniel Beltra

Oil Spill #4

Oil Spill #9

Oil Spill #21

Oil Spill #1

Oil Spill #17

Oil Spill #8

Oil Spill #6

Oil Spill #18

Oil Spill #8

Oil Spill #20
Daniel Beltra

The fragile state of our environment has been a continuous thread throughout my work. For this series, I spent two months in the Gulf on assignment for Greenpeace photographing the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. These photographs explore the tenseness of the situation in the Gulf of Mexico as the oil seeps into an already challenged and complex ocean ecosystem. Though tragic, it is a fitting example of the vast scale of transformation our world is under from man-made stresses. I have found it is often best to work from the air, which more easily allows for the juxtaposition of nature with the destruction wrought by industrial accidents. Aerial photography gives us a wider context to the beauty and destruction happening on the Earth. At the same time, it reveals a sense of scale and a unique perspective that allows the viewer to understand that the planet and its resources are finite. It is in nature’s beauty and complexity that I find my inspiration. I hope to create images that spur a greater respect and conservation for the natural world. Hidden within these images is the stark reality about the state of our environment and the legacy that we are leaving behind. I hope to reawaken people to their connection to this world by challenging them to contemplate their relationship with nature, and how their individual actions will contribute to the changing needs of our planet.