Four-fold Hydrofracking photos

Four-fold Symmetrical 
Hydrofracking Photographs

Note: this is Part IV and the final project in a 4 part series of projects entitled the Hydrofracking Suite. The other projects are:

     The Meadow Photographs 
     Hydrofracking Screenshots
     Transformed Hydrofracking Photographs

Friday morning, July 20, 2012, Canandaigua, NY: I just heard a story on NPR about the increasing temperatures and droughts in the mid-west. / We talked to our daughter on the phone the other day, she lives in Milwaukee, Wi., and she's watching her lawn and her garden shrivel up because the City has asked everyone not to use municipal water on such things in order to save costs on water purification in the city. / I just looked at my e-mail; Bill McKibben of 350.ogr has written what he considers one of his most important pieces in years; it has to do with the growing global Climate Change crisis, and the global lack of response to all the clear evidence that exists on this planet-threatening issue. / Then I opened an email from Anna Sears of R-Cause (thanks, Anna, for your hard work on hydrofracking); she sent out the video documentation of the July 18, 2012 NY Senate Forum on Hydrofracking. Senator Avella has brought forth in the Forum all the science one could ask for to justify banning hydrofracking in NY State. / I can't help but wonder what Gov. Cuomo could be thinking . . . waiting on. In this time of global warming crisis, when temperatures are rising, intense droughts are happening, fresh water supplies are rapidly evaporating or becoming poisoned by industry by one way or another (we know that hydrofracking uses 1 - 8 million gallons of fresh water to drill each gas well, and that all the water used becomes contaminated, dangerous, toxic waste water that nobody wants, that nobody knows what to do with because it is so toxic, and will surely contaminate other, nearby fresh water sources eventually) . . . why would we want to do anything like hydrofracking that would threaten the precious water supply we have here in NY State? It has been predicted that in the near future there will be wars fought over the need for fresh, potable water.

On December 17, 2014, under tremendous pressure from environmentalists, scientists, doctors, economists, etc.,  Gov. Cuomo announced that he would Ban hydrofracking in NY State. 


The photographs used in the construction of the four-fold symmetrical images presented here have been through a series of transformations: 1) The process began by my appropriating hydrofracking images from the internet which I then used to create a webpage project entitled Hydrofracking Screenshots. 2) Then I transformed a selection of those images for the next project Transformed Hydrofracking Photographs. 3) Finally, the images you see below are what I call Four-fold symmetrical photographs; they were constructed using selected images from the Transformed Hydrofracking Photographs project.

How I make the Four-fold Symmetrical Photographs
1) I begin with a single image (for this project I used one of the images from the Transformed Hydrofracking Photographs project) , 2) then I duplicate it four times; 3) I then conjoin the four duplicated images seamlessly such that they mirror each other both vertically and horizontally. The image is surrounded with a marginal space, and I have placed in the center of the top and bottom margin edges little half-roundels. Please visit my project Celestial Gardens for a full explanation.  

The idea to make Four-fold symmetrical photographs came to me after my wife Gloria and I traveled to Turkey in the spring of 2011. Visit Prayer Stones for a full description of my experience in Turkey and how I got the idea to make symmetrical photographs.) That travel experience and my subsequent studies of traditional Islamic sacred art, have resulted in a large series of new photography projects involving symmetrical photographs. Visit The Complete Collection of projects.

From Images of Separation to Images of Unity
Hydrofracking is a violent, explosive form of horizontal natural gas drilling that uses carcinogenic chemicals and huge quantities of fresh water and sand, under high pressure, to separate and release the natural gas locked within the layered shale rock deep underground in New York State. Hydrofracking is a very controversial, divisive issue in New York State. The debates over hydrofracking have generated lots of anxious, fearful and angry feelings amongst individuals, local communities, organized groups and politicians. On one side there is desire for the money to be made from the lease of land for drilling, and the sale of natural gas taken from the wells. On the other side there are the environmentalists who have the compelling argument and documented scientific evidence to show that hydrofracking poses greats risks to the environment (fresh water, land, air, the ozone layer), risks to local community life-styles and economies, and risks to the health of residents, pets, wildlife and farm animals, etc.

The Symmetrical Hydrofracking Photographs are quite literally images of unity.  Their strange, transformed beauty has, it seems to me, a liberating effect on the ugly and dangerous hydrofracking subject matter that existed in the original straight photographs I appropriated from the internet.  

When I carefully contemplate the symmetrical images, despite their original content the transformed images often have a transforming, liberating impact on me as well: my mind slows down or stops, a feeling of calm overcomes my entire being . . . my thoughts and fears about hydrofracking dissolve and my anxiety is replaced by a sense of stillness, silence, peace.  Perhaps these images of unity have some kind of healing power for those who consider them carefully.

Symmetrical Photographs & Ritual
I have come to realize that there is, for me, an aspect of ritual in the constructing of symmetrical images. I have an intuitive sense that through the process of visually transforming the hydrofracking subject matter that was in the originating source image, some degree of purification or consecration or sanctification is somehow accomplished. Perhaps at a subtle level of existence (in me?, in the subject matter photographed?, in the newly created picture space?) some degree of protection or grace is invoked and made present through the images. See, for example, the photograph below entitled Bringing back to life a dead fish on the bottom of a stream contaminated by hydrofracking.  

The following two quotes are taken from my web page entitled Sacred Art, Sacred Knowledge:

Ritual Space : Sacred Space
[From the book: Cosmology and Architecture in Premodern Islam, by Samer Akkach]
Sacred places, Mircea Eliade argues, are not "chosen but rather discovered by religious man."  "The sacred place in some way or another reveals itself to him."  In the absence of a direct revelation, holiness can still be invoked by human consecration through the enactment of certain religious rituals.  Once consecrated, a sacred space becomes a defined, qualified, significant, ordered space.  The act of ordering with reference to cosmic paradigms, Eliade argues, invokes God's blueprint of the world, the universal pattern of creation, and the principal elements of determination that emerged out of the primordial chaos.  

Ritual Sanctified Space
[Titus Burkhardt, in his book Sacred Art in East and West, quotes Black Elk, a priest and sage of the Native American Sioux Indians. Here, Black Elk describes the consecration of a traditional fire altar]
"Taking the axe, the officiant pointed it towards the six directions, and then struck the ground to the West.  Repeating the same movement he struck the ground to the North, then in the same way to the East and to the South; then he raised the axe skywards and struck the ground twice in the center for the earth, and then twice for the Great Spirit.  Having done this, he scratched the soil with a stick which he had purified in the smoke and offered to the six directions: he drew a line running from the West to the center, then from the East to the center, then from the North to the center, and finally from the South to the center; then he offered the stick to the heavens and touched the center, and to the earth and touched the center.  In this way the altar was made.   In the manner described, we fixed in this place the center of the world, and this center, which in reality is everywhere, is the dwelling-place of the Great Spirit."  


May these symmetrical photographs serve some larger good . . . for the well being of everyone, and for the well being of the natural world.

Regarding the titles of the photographs
You may or may not want to read the titles under these photographs. I personally have found it very interesting to know the actual source imagery I started with before it became so radically transformed (these images are transformations of transformed photographs). On the other hand, reading the titles can be unsettling and take one away from any reverie that the images may have initially invoked. For sure, reading the titles will add an additional level of complexity and meaning to your viewing experience.  

Note: you can enlarge most (not all) of the images presented here for a closer viewing. Try clicking on the images once or twice. After viewing you can return to this page by clicking on the < back or previous arrow at the top left corner of the window. 

The Four-fold Symmetrical 
Hydrofracking Photographs

#1  Four-fold Symmetrical Hydrofracking Photograph 19x25"  
Bringing back to life a dead fish 
on the bottom of a stream contaminated by hydrofracking
  (click on images to enlarge)  

#2  Four-fold Symmetrical Hydrofracking Photograph 19x25" 
 Methane Gas Fire at a kitchen sink water tap  

#3  Four-fold Symmetrical Hydrofracking Photograph 19x25" 
Infrared video still of Methane gas escaping from a gas collecting compressor
To see the article about methane leaks which includes the video

#4  Four-fold Symmetrical Hydrofracking Photograph 19x25" 
Inside a carcinogenic hydrofracking chemical contaminated blood cell  

#5  Four-fold Symmetrical Hydrofracking Photograph 19x25" 
Blue Flower configuration: 
ariel view of blue delivery trucks, full of dangerous fracking chemicals, 
parked in a cleared section of a drilling site on top of a forested mountain

#6  Four-fold Symmetrical Hydrofracking Photograph 19x25" 
Fire and water

#7  Four-fold Symmetrical Hydrofracking Photograph 19x25" 
Chemical truck with pink sunset in the background

#8  Four-fold Symmetrical Hydrofracking Photograph 19x25" 
Nocturn: trucks lined up, after midnight, to collect fresh river water 
which will be used for hydrofracking.  The water will become dangerously polluted 
with hydrofracking chemicals and radioactive ground materials.  
Where will the contaminated waste water be taken?  Who is keeping track?

#9  Four-fold Symmetrical Hydrofracking Photograph 19x25" 
Accidental explosion at a gas drilling site 

#10  Four-fold Symmetrical Hydrofracking Photograph 19x25" 
Nocturn: Drill site gas flare against a blue night sky  

#11  Four-fold Symmetrical Hydrofracking Photograph 19x25" 
Nocturn: Gas flare reflected in drill site waste water collection pool

#12  Four-fold Symmetrical Hydrofracking Photograph 19x25" 
Ariel view of a drill site waste pit

#13  Four-fold Symmetrical Hydrofracking Photograph 19x25" 
Inside a toxic radioactive hydrofracking brine collecting pool

#14 Four-fold Symmetrical Hydrofracking Photograph 19x25" 
Nocturn: Gas drilling tower, windswept toxic pollution, 
and multiple moons reflected in a nearby lake 

~     ~     ~     ~     ~

About Hydrofracking

It's quite clear to me that hydrofracking is being promoted in NY State and elsewhere by people who are short sighted or uninformed or simply greedy and corrupted to the point of uncaring about the destructive dangers it poses to the environment and the residents of NY State. There is a growing body of peer reviewed scientific knowledge which is showing that current practices of hydrofracking are very dangerous to human health, the environment, and even the planet because the escaping methane gas from hydrofracking erodes the earth's protective ozone layer and thus increases the process of global warming, which is already doing great harm to the Natural World.

On December 17, 2014, under tremendous pressure from environmentalists, scientists, doctors, economists, etc.,  Gov. Cuomo announced that he would Ban hydrofracking in NY State.   

The Departing Landscape, an earlier project also expresses my concern about man's departing relationship to the natural world.

I encourage you to visit my hydrofracking website NoToHydrofracking which gives up-to-the-minute breaking news, articles, environmental websites, scientific information and more about the hydrofracking process. The following are some very important issues that need to be understood regarding hydrofracking:  

The Economics Rogers & Barth.  
Health Impacts Sandra Steingraber's work.  
Waste water Waste water. 
Climate Change Howarth and McKibben
Other issues: NY Times Drilling Down Series.  

Important websites to check regularly or subscribe to:


Note: this is part 4 of a four part series of projects entitled 
the Hydrofracking Suite.  It was first posted June 4, 2012.  

The first three projects are:

To learn more about Hydrofracking visit:

To see the Complete Collection of Symmetrical Photographs Projects

Welcome Page  to The Departing Landscape website which includes the complete hyperlinked listing of my online photography projects dating back to the 1960's, my resume, contact information, and more.