Beautiful Destruction

By (photographer): Louis Helbig
ISBN 9781771600545
Hardcover | Publication Date: November 28, 2014
Book Dimensions: 14 in x 12 in
304 Pages

About the Book

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 230 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.

About the Author(s)

Louis Helbig is a Canadian aerial art photographer. He brings his unique perspective—as pilot, as artist, as citizen—to his projects. Helbig uses the evocative power of art to create space for viewers to reflect, imagine and think for themselves, a philosophy evidenced in this book and such ongoing projects as "Sunken Villages" about the flooded communities in the St Lawrence Seaway. Helbig's work appears in mainstream, academic and art criticism publications. He gives presentations and mounts exhibitions at public and private institutions, and his work is held in public and private collections worldwide. Raised in Williams Lake, BC, Helbig makes art that is influenced by a range of experience including as a World Cup cross-country ski racer, bush pilot, economic historian, cabinet minister's adviser and university instructor. He holds a BA from McGill University in Montreal and an MSc from the London School of Economics. He left Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs in 2006 to become a full-time artist. Louis lives in Ottawa, Ontario.