INFLUENCE: Richard Misrach/Kate Orff: Petrochemical America
As far as socially focused bodies of work go, 'Petrochemical America' is my favourite. The social issues explored in Petrochemical America have been explored also in films(Dark Waters, most recently), and documentaries(The Devil We Know), and are obviously a source of major debate in American politics and will be for some time. 'Petrochemical America' does a great job at laying out objective aspects to the issues around this area, and with architect Kate Orff's input in the back half of the book, this objectivity reaches new heights that no other book has reached in my belief.
Orff takes the objectivity of the 'map' and maps the whole of the poisonous industry that resides on the Mississippi, she takes away the possibility of debate over right and wrong and instead focuses on giving the truth in terms of graphs superimposed on top of satellite imagery which serves to 'accuse' the companies who sit on the river.
On the other hand, the first half of the book seeks to explore the adverse effects on a human level, by photographing how these companies have affected the land and its communities along the route known as Cancer Alley
This book has been influential to me in the production of Bradford-by-the-sea when deciding to work with fellow artist Ellie Lauder on the back half of the book, which we titled 'A Collision of Community'. Working with Ellie allowed me to bring in another take on the project in which she would respond to not only the ideas behind the work but the work itself.