Beneath the Dirt of Great Men – Volume I

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In June, 1921, the construction of an oil derrick on a section of land, named Block #1, began near Big Lake. Two years prior, Frank Pickrell had purchased the leasing rights on 431,360 acres of land in West Texas, which was generally known as university land that had been set aside by the state of Texas, for $2500. The Texon Oil and Land Company began to sell stock, “certificates of interest,” that provided a .0004882 interest in Block #1 for a mere $200 per certificate.

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Some of the stock salesmen had engaged a group of Catholic women to invest in the Group 1 stock. These women were a little worried about the wisdom of their investment and consulted with a priest. He apparently was also somewhat skeptical and suggested to the women that they invoke the help of Santa Rita, the Patron Saint of the Impossible! As I was leaving New York on one of my trips to the field two of these women handed me a sealed envelope and told me that the envelope contained a red rose that had been blessed by the priest in the name of the saint. The women asked me to take the rose back to Texon with me and climb to the top of the derrick and scatter the rose petals, which I did.

Frank Pickrell, Texon Oil and Land Company on the discovery of oil in the Permian Basin of West Texas.

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Once known as the “petroleum graveyard,” this carbon landscape of oil production, including the markers of drilling rigs, pumping stations, and waste water evaporation ponds in the fracking process for crude oil extraction, are now driving a second energy boom in the Permian Basin of Southeast New Mexico and West Texas. Today, leasing mineral rights can cost as much as $40,000 an acre, and well drilling rigs with fracking operations can cost about $8 million each to raise the over 3 million barrels of black gold each day.

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Beneath the Dirt of Great Men | Volume I

20 x 14 inches | covered with Shizen screen printed paper from India

8 archival inkjet pigment prints on Ilford Gold Fiber Silk | 19 x 13 inches and verso

edition of 3

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Also

Beneath the Dirt of Great Men | Volume II

Beneath the Dirt of Great Men | Volume III

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