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Language: Trilingual captions in English, Denesuline, and Cree
The Alberta oil/tar sands are a place of superlatives, of awesome beauty and equally awesome destruction. They are a kaleidoscope of contrasts, colours and patterns keeping time with the seemingly unstoppable movement of machinery, smoke and effluent set in an immense boreal landscape with its own immutable patterns, cadence and cycles.
Beautiful Destruction is a large-format, high-quality photography book that uses over 100 stunning, full-colour aerial photographs to transcend the polarities that dominate public discourse of the largest industrial project in North America: the Alberta oil/tar sands.
With short essays by renowned personalities Bill McKibben, Charles Wilkinson, Duff Connacher, Elizabeth May, Eric Reguly, Ezra Levant, Jennifer Grant, Rick George, Gil McGowan, Allan Adam, Megan Leslie and Francis Scarpaleggia from both sides of the oil/tar sands debate discussing the artistic, industrial and environmental perceptions of northern Alberta's petroleum-based mega-project, Beautiful Destruction is one of the most ambitious, provocative and unique photography projects to be published in years.
"Louis Helbig captures some of our most barren and desolate landscapes and turns them into bold, geometric art."
"Helbig's photos are not riddles; they are literal representations of the landscape, but in them he finds patterns, both natural and man-made, that toy with the eye of the viewer."
– Ottawa Citizen
"For Louis Helbig, being 1 000 feet above his subjects is the perfect vantage point."
– National Post
"Louis Helbig has been photographing Canada's oil sands mining for several years, with fascinating results."
– The New York Times