Henry Fair’s Industrial Scars

I have always questioned the function of art.
Is it entertainment? Should it be political?
If it is political, what does that say about its timelessness?
– from the Statement of Purpose to Industrial Scars.

Henry Fair is a famed photographer living just north New York City. He has an impressive body of work ranging across artistic and commercial genres, including fashion, corporate, portraiture and documentary, as well as landscape and wildlife photography. Henry is also a ardent environmentalist, and co-founder with Helene Grimaud of the Wolf Conservation Center in South Salem, NY.

It is Henry’s passion for the planet, along with his unrelenting critique of unrestrained consumption, that informs the photos featured here. These images are from his landscape website, Industrial Scars. I find these images paradoxically disturbing and compelling. A surreal mix of beauty and desolation pervades the geometric forms created by earth moving machinery, the impossible iridescence of oil sickened water, and the cottony clouds of climate changing aerial pollutants. Henry’s work reminds me how much my life is bound up with the metabolization of the earth, and the necessity of living our lives in a responsible, earth-friendly manner.

In Henry’s words: ‘These photographs were inspired by my obsession with petroleum, our dependence on it, and how that dependence affects our interaction with the natural world. Environmental questions have forced their way to the front of my thinking increasingly in the last few years, and i found myself prowling around the perimeters of oil refineries, arrested once or twice, but never seeing what i wanted to see. So i decided the thing to do was look from above. The refineries, machines, and evaporation ponds amazed me. Their shapes, colors, and reflections seemed to hold some sense of lurking malevolence. The photographs are environmental, thus in some sense political. But they have a fascinating beauty; each image alternating between the abstract and concrete, possibly in the same breath.’

You can find more of Henry Fair’s amazing artistic and commercial work atwww.jhenryfair.com. For those of you particularly interested in his photography of wolves, visit the Wolf Conservation Center website at www.nywolf.org

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