These photos aren’t the end product of some sweet new Instagram filter, but of gasoline.
Photographer Peter Hoffman traveled along the Fox River in Illinois, photographing the river’s meandering surface through rural and suburban areas. Before he developed the film, Hoffman drowned the negatives in gasoline and then set them on fire, throwing water to halt the process just before the film was completely destroyed. Hoffman uses fossil fuels to disturb his film in order to reflect the very real environmental disturbances caused in the pursuit of oil. He specifically cites the Deepwater Horizon Spill in a statement about the series and in further commentary about his work he says:
“I wanted to transfer that feeling I had, which was maybe something like a sense of powerlessness or dread, to the image making process. I wanted to lose control, having the resulting work border on ceasing to exist in any recognizable form.”
It’s easy to have a feeling, squinting through his photos, trying to make out recognizable landforms, that we are in very murky territory. It’s brilliant that he was able to create that feeling using the very same material that’s fueling environmental destruction and pushing carbon dioxide levels to 3 million year highs. Let’s just hope someone douses water on us before we’ve completely destroyed the place for future generations.