Black Gold

The Permian Basin is a vast flatland region of West Texas rich with petroleum resources rivaled only by Saudi Arabia. A native grassland prairie, the land was once home to the Comanche before they were forcibly removed in the late 19th century to make way for farmers and ranchers moving west. Searching for water in this formidably hot and dry environment led to drilling, which ultimately led to globally significant discoveries of petroleum. Over the last 50 years, the culture here has been largely defined by the ability to extrude as much oil and gas from the rock as possible. The land serves as an archive of these histories, simultaneously cataloging geological epochs, power structures, labor hierarchies, and contemporary detritus. This selection of photographs is one chapter in an ongoing and long-term exploration of the Permian Basin.