For more than a year, I spent my days in this city of steel and hydrocarbons, where tall stacks and columns of steam are continually rising to the sky. I looked in wonder at the scale of this built environment as I wandered the alleys between furnace and motor, following the weaving lines of pipe and valve as they head north, south, east and west. I learned the names of processes, the safety codes, a respect for correct procedures. I heard the horror stories, the history of errors told as warning, and saw how all conversation stopped when the alarm sounded. Three blasts of the horn for emergency. Ten blasts for all clear. The potential for disaster keeps us alert; this is the first and last lesson. Everything else is details.

Taken on June 22, 2010


4 thoughts on “stacks

    • Yes. I thought it was astounding. Edward Burtynsky really showed the scale of everything — the vast spaces as well as industrial landscapes. Quite an eye-opening documentary. What did you think?

  1. I was really impressed with it. The still photos didn’t grab me so much until I saw the documentary, which gives them more context. It’s been a while since I saw the movie. What sticks in my mind is the panning shot of the Chinese factory works, rows and rows and rows and rows…

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