Abu Dhabi energy pylons confuse perceptions of “land” use

Abu Dhabi, pylons, thirst for energy,  environmental photography, urban development, Richard Allenby-PrattAn awe-inspiring sight, as one departs Abu Dhabi towards Saadiyat and Yas Islands, these pylons seems to disappear into the distant sea. But we are actually looking inland and they are delivering energy to, rather than from, the city center.

As a relatively infrequent visitor, the confusion of islands and waterways in this area ( 24°30’58.91″N  54°24’19.77″E) and the network of fast highways, reclaimed land, and new developments make instinctive navigation challenging, to say the least.

Pylons tend to be the scourge of scenic photographers. They stand so aggressively in the landscape, these most obvious and ubiquitous symbols of our relentless thirst for energy.

As a young photographer my tendency was to romanticise the landscape and avoid ugly intrusions, like pylons, in my compositions. Many was the occasion when I would elect not to waste film on an otherwise beautiful scene because it was marred by incongruous metal intrusions.

With the tools we have available today I doubtless would have taken the pictures anyway and removed the pylons afterwards on my computer. What a sad deception it would have been though!

Note from the editor: this photograph is part of a series called “Consumption” that seeks to document consumerism’s impact on the environment. From resource extraction and commodity production all the way down the supply chain to retail stores and waste processing facilities, Richard artfully examines what nature has come to mean in a world that depends on buying stuff.

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