North Dakota has been at the center of conversations surrounding a more energy efficient America. The state sits above a 200,000 square foot rock formation called “The Bakken.” Introducing Hydraulic fracking to the oil industries that created thousands of jobs for Americans. People from all over the country migrated to the remote lands of North Dakota; this caused a major overpopulation issue for the small farm towns of Williston, Dickinson, Watford City and much more. Workers and the state were unprepared for the condition they would face in “The Bakken.”
In the early years of the oil boom, a lot was changing in the small farm towns of North Dakota. The state and police not prepared for the large population, housing was almost non-existing, living in your car on Walmart property or near your work site became a reality for most. Oil field companies started to provide housing to their employees later on. They assembled “man camps” that were portable housing units that would fit up to two people or more in one unit. The ones that did not have this option from their employers would have to result in overpriced apartments and trailers.
When I arrived in the oil fields, development had already kicked off; motels spread like the plague and townhouses. I was incredibly unprepared for the weather and workload in North Dakota, “I had no idea what I was getting myself into.” I was lucky enough to rent a room from a local family for an affordable price and started working within 24 hours of being in North Dakota. I started thinking how if I didn’t have a friend from my home state to help me, how hard it would have been for me to get on my feet. It was at that moment when I got my inspiration and focused on my photography in the oil fields. I wanted to take politics out of crude oil and show the world who the workers are; fathers, husbands, sons, everyday Americans that came out to make a better life for themselves and their families
The oil fields have reached their lowest points of their eight years of exporting crude oil. Overnight, people have lost their jobs and had to move back to their lives in their home states. I feel like I have captured an important moment in American History. Not only of the third generation oil boom or the movement of a more energy efficient America. For an example of what the American people can do in a time of recession and the importance of family and brotherhood that these men have shown each other.