THE GOLDEN AGE OF OIL
Marathon, Texas - 2023
This photograph, taken against the setting sun in West Texas, has such a broad range of colours that we decided it was best to print it that way. I am a believer in the reductive virtues of monochrome, but to calm down the orange glow in this image would be seen as an artistic error.
There is a great deal going on in this vignette and we are proud of its creation. The four hoofs emphatically off the ground, the dust created by the hoofs, the back lit gusher and the oil worker all coalesce with a fortunate ease. With so much going on, there was always the possibility of a tension point somewhere, but we got away with it. I think there is also a palpable sense of place, reinforced by the cactus plants. This is Texas.
We can all only imagine what drilling was like 10 years ago, but old imagery informs how tough the work was. This was an industry dominated by tough men conditioned to long shifts with little comfort. They played a material role in the history of America.
Move forward a century and there are many eco warriors who frown on the oil industry. Their hearts might be in the right place, but they should not and cannot airbrush history. The discovery of oil in America so long ago played an integral role in both World Wars and the evolution of the free world.
Texas would not be Texas were it not for oil and cowboys and that has been true for five generations. I think this photograph is a visual celebration of a unique way of life and one that locals can rightly be very proud of.