Design by Brett Yasko.  Photo © Noah Addis/MSDP 2011

Design by Brett Yasko.  Photo © Noah Addis/MSDP 2011

In its first phase, the Marcellus Shale Documentary Project documented the social, environmental and economic effects of unconventional natural gas (methane) extraction (commonly known as "fracking") within the borders of Pennsylvania.  Photographers Noah Addis, Nina Berman, Brian Cohen, Lynn Johnson, Scott Goldsmith and Martha Rial, designer Brett Yasko and curator Laura Domencic collaborated for over a year to produce a body of work that opened as an exhibit in Pittsburgh in 2012, and which traveled until the spring of 2016.  The project also published a book, available at the shop at Pittsburgh Center for the Arts.  This first phase of the MSDP has been featured in the New York Times, and on, amongst others.  The physical exhibit was visited by over 25,000 people during its travels, and was designated one of the top ten exhibits of 2012 by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

MSDP has been generously supported by The Pittsburgh Foundation, The Heinz Endowments, The William Penn Foundation, The Sprout Fund, the Donald and Sylvia Robinson Foundation, and by a number of private donors including Josh Whetzel, Nancy Bernstein, and Cathy Raphael.

The pictures here represent a synthesis of the work, organized by photographer.

Brian Cohen spent most of his time in South-Western Pennsylvania, in Butler County and the Laurel Highlands.  He made landscapes that attempt to describe how the arrival of a major industrial process looks in rural Pennsylvania; and he followed stories both of people who have leased their property to a gas company, and of people who lived close by drilling activity.

Lynn Johnson's work casts a wide net, looking at people working in the gas industry, people opposed to drilling activity, people who have leased and who have been adversely affected by drilling.  She covered ground across the state, from Butler County in the west, to in the northeast.

These IPhone images are "impressions" gathered in all corners of Pennsylvania - from the northeast Susquehanna watershed to the north of Pittsburgh.  Dimock, Evans City, Benton, Jersey Shore, Milton, Toanda, Moshannon State Forest, Tunkhannock.  These are only a few of the places in our state where homes, lands, and lives are deeply affected by the shale gas "boom".  Photographs © Lynn Johnson/MSDP 2012

Nina Berman focused on the tensions caused by the rapid rise of gas drilling in the northeast of the state, and the struggles of residents to cope with the changes it has brought.

Noah Addis' large format photographs describe in extraordinary detail the faces and landscapes of the gas fields.