In the United States, shale gas is the new gold. And Williston, North Dakota, is the new Klondike. The population of this tiny, isolated city has doubled in less than two years and now numbers more than 20.000. Despite the high cost of living and inhospitable climate, many are making their way here attracted by the high salaries being offered. The local landowners too are enjoying high payouts from the extraction of gas located under their properties.
The women who you see in my photographs have either been born locally or have migrated here, with families, or alone, to earn a dollar, or three, and to build a better life for themselves.
With the boom in hydraulic fracturing technology, commonly known as fracking, the US could attain its golden goal of energy independence. But environmentalists are speaking out and slowly making their voices heard. As far as they are concerned supplies, resources and profits have been overstated whilst the environmental risks have been at best underestimated and at worst blatantly ignored.
What if this newly discovered, magic answer to a seemingly endless supply of fuel for energy hungry America is flawed? What if this new Eldorado is only a passing mirage? And what if the yellow brick road that seems to run through Williston today ultimately paves the way back to poverty and environmental desolation?
About the Photographer
Maud Delaflotte started her career as a photographer with the press digital laboratory at «L’Oeil Public» later becoming a photojournalist herself with the intention of exploring and investigating her own subjects through photography. Since 2006, Delaflotte has concentrated her attention on closed communities and isolated regions or social classes. Her photograph has led her to variety of different locations, such as a circus, a refuge for migrants in Paris and the world inhabited by the mysterious aristocracy. Delaflotte’s reports are regularly published in the French press, through her agency, Zoko Productions.