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Photographer: Madeline Cottingham
Exhibit Title: Play Grounds
Location: United States
Play Grounds, depicts Montrose, Pennsylvania, a rural community on the front lines of the natural gas revolution, and the local residents who have been transformed by the industry. Hydraulic fracturing, the process for extracting natural gas, injects large amounts of water, chemicals, and sand over a mile beneath the earth’s crust to release gas. In Montrose, numerous household water supplies have been contaminated, traditional farmers are concerned for the safety of their products, and families have begun investing in expensive air to water technology as they live with the constant sounds and smells of nearby drilling pads. Within the industry if an area is expected to be profitable it is said to have ‘shale play’. Due to patent laws, much of the chemical makeup of the cocktail used by natural gas companies has never been released to the public. Instead, community members have been left to document contamination on their own, a process that has resulted in gag orders and law suits throughout the community.
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