Daniel Shea and the Impact of Industry

  • by Jenny Bahn

What does an industrial landscape look like without the people running the show? The photographic work of artist Daniel Shea offers a glimpse into the weird, almost post-apocalyptic landscape of briefly abandoned industry. Steaming smokestacks, seemingly deserted mining towns, the underbellies of concrete overpasses: Without bodies giving the space a narrative, we are able to focus squarely on our impact on nature.    

It’s a rather grim, captivating look into how we are permanently altering the natural landscape in the name of progress. In every image, Shea manages to capture the raw weight of steel in juxtaposition with vulnerable environment we’ve placed it in. The combination is always unsettling, inspiring a greater awareness of how substantial a footprint we are placing on the world.

There is, of course, the more human impact of industry, documented in Shea’s portraits of industrial workers in struggling towns. Stern and bleak, purposefully lacking in humor or irony, this is the face of the nuts-and-bolts side of America—that first, unglorified step in a production cycle that goes largely ignored.   

Through Daniel Shea’s lens, you see the inferred cost—human and environmental—without the gain. Some might argue that it’s a one-sided reality, but it’s a reality nonetheless.


All photos courtesy of Daniel Shea and Webber Represents.


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