Mitch Epstein: American Power

BP Carson Refinery, California 2007, 70 x 92 inches, from American Power

BP Carson Refinery, California 2007, 70 x 92 inches, from American Power

Mitch Epstein is best known for his photographs of American life. From the demise of his father’s small business, to society’s recreational idiosyncrasies, to the face of a changing New York City, Epstein delivers a style classified somewhere between conceptual and documentary, showing the ordinary in its extraordinary state. His switch from black and white to color photography in the 70s was one of the first to be accepted as “art”, and not just slick advertising, which is what color was used for before that time.

Amos Coal Power Plant, Raymond, West Virginia 2004, 70 x 92 inches, from American Power

Amos Coal Power Plant, Raymond, West Virginia 2004, 70 x 92 inches, from American Power

Between 2003 and 2009, Epstein photographed the United States landscape and society as it related to energy production. “Energy tourism”– Epstein called it in an artist statement. He set out to photograph fossil fuel, nuclear, as well as green energy production sights, and their affects on the people, life, and environs directly surrounding it. They raise questions not only of western culture and its respective energy use, but also of shifting and often times unbalanced states of power– the power of nature vs. electrical power vs. political power vs. America’s power in terms of the global perspective.

windfarm

Altamont Pass Wind Farm, California II 2007, 70 x 92 inches, from American Power

Epstein visited 25 states over the past 6 years shooting nuclear power plants, wind farms, coal plants, and the Americans who live with them in their very own backyards. He did, however, encounter several setbacks. First was Hurricane Katrina in 2005, which affected 30% of land in the US used for oil production. More oil refineries line the Gulf Coast than anywhere else in the country. Epstein shifted gears for this area turning his focus from oil production to the coast’s vulnerability in future natural disasters.

Biloxi, Mississippi 2005, 70 x 92 inches, from American Power

Biloxi, Mississippi 2005, 70 x 92 inches, from American Power

For more images and information on American Power and other photographic projects by Mitch Epstein, please visit his website or NYC gallery.

American Power is available for pre-order on Amazon by clicking on the book.

americanpowerbook

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One Response to “Mitch Epstein: American Power”

  1. iheartfilm Says:

    Wish I lived near a wind farm. It would make for some nice photographs.

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