Crude Awakening by Jane Fulton Alt

Fine art photographer Jane Fulton Alt has made a series of images commenting on the effect of the Gulf oil spill on Americans. The photos, in her collection “Crude Awakening,” are eerie and still portraits of swimmers and beach-goers drenched in oil. Some of her past work includes a chilling and intimate look at the devastation left behind by Hurricane Katrina in her book Look and Leave.

Also, like much of her work, Alt’s portraits aim to make a  powerful statement. Alt says:

Living on the shores of Lake Michigan, I am acutely aware of the disastrous toll the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has taken on all forms of life, especially as our beaches opened to the 2010 swimming season. This environmental, social and economic catastrophe highlights a much larger problem that has inflicted untold suffering as we exploit the earth’s resources worldwide.

We are all responsible for leading lives that create demand for unsustainable energy.
We are also all responsible for the solution and we must work together to protect the balance of life.

Here’s a video with more of Alt’s “Crude Awakening” series:

To view more of Jane Fulton Alt’s work, visit her website.

Image Credit: All photos by Jane Fulton Alt and used with permission

  • Bob

    we like artistic photo artists expressing freedom of speech while making a statement
    we support freedom of press oil spill news ,we approve of your post , could you add shame bp MEDIA BLACK OUT IN progress gulf region journalist under attack from police run state Louisiana , Bobby one honest man held back from red tape government conspires to cover up bp criminal corp executive branch on probation , judicial joke of the LAW FIRMS INVOLVED IN OIL SPILL

  • Ian Miller

    Some great images that really tell a story, set up yes/maybe but none the less powerful.

  • Jeiji

    Deep. Beautiful and powerful shots.

  • [email protected]

    This was done already by this lovely lady here:

  • Lacey

    there's this girl on flickr who did an amazing interpretation of the BP oil spill awhile back:

  • Ranger 9

    I assume that “fine art photographer” means “never having to say you're sorry these photos were completely staged/faked,” probably on the shores of Lake Michigan — even though lots of people seeing them no doubt will assume they are actual Gulf spill documentation.

    In one way I certainly HOPE they were faked — crude oil is a hazardous substance and shouldn't be handled without protective clothing. The stuff drizzled on the artiste's models looks more like used motor oil, which at least won't hurt them, but should have been recycled.

  • Nelam4e

    this is stupid

  • kevjohn

    No such thing as an original idea. If it's a good idea, many people will have something very similar to it. It's all in the execution though, and Alt's is pretty damn good. Better than mine…

  • JessicaLum

    Right, these are interpretive, creative works by an artist, not actual people in the Gulf covered in real oil.

  • FlySwinger

    This is too contrived for my tastes.

  • Morne

    “… used motor oil, which at least won't hurt them, …” is not accurate. The oil, like everything else that comes in contact with human skin, is absorbed to some degree and can lead to health problems.

    Oil – crude, refined or used – contains some funky ingredients that you do not want exposure to if it can be helped. Whether mineral or synthetic, or a combination, exposure to oil on the skin is not recommended.

    A substitute that appears to be the real thing is far more desirable than using motor oil. Since these photos were staged, and are not documentary in nature, I would be disappointed to find out that the photographer made use of real motor oil – if that is the case.

  • Alistair Parker

    Phoney…..Molasses does not look like crude oil!

  • Chris Maki

    If you want to be taken seriously as a blogger, you should really learn the difference between “affect” and “effect”. Also, I agree with both Alistair and FlySwinger, contrived and not very realistic.

  • scottmphoto

    expecting felony charges and fines against this artist as part of the corporate takeover of the federal military in…3….2…..1……

  • Ian Miller

    Contrived they may be, but does that make the statement the pictures make any the less powerful, the IQ is excellent and the subject (although we all know it is fake) is current and relevant.

  • throwcomputer

    1 dimensional “fine art”. take those ideas deeper please.

  • Sprokuski

    the photographer used chocolate syrup–the article paraphrases from another online source which also incorrectly labeled the “oil” as being true oil.

  • QuBe

    I already know about the nightmare.
    Dramatized photos just make me feel lousier about it…
    They offer no solution…illustrate no hopeful or positive actions taking place.

    I'd have combined the exhibit with photos of the massive clean up operations and people taking individual action. And also the myriad alternatives to oil.
    That way people can leave the gallery with directions for their emotions, instead of just going home in their SUV's a little more miserable.

  • Smanning2580

    Dear Jane Fulton,
    Hope you got liability insurance. These people may come back to sue you in 5-10 years time when they all get cancer or some other debilitating disease. Oil is a soup of toxic chemicals – which your skin absorbs like a sponge. You put lives in jeopardy for nothing. Think! You idiot.

  • Smanning2580
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