A ship cuts through a band of oil on the surface of the water. A substantial layer of oily sediment stretches for dozens of miles in all directions from the wellhead, suggesting that a large amount of oil did not evaporate or dissipate, but may have instead settled to the seafloor.
So reads the caption on Daniel Beltrá’s Oil Spill #17, an aerial shot of the Gulf of Mexico that he snapped just two weeks after BP’s Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded last April, killing 11 and sending 4.9 million barrels of crude oil into open water. On the one-year anniversary of the BP oil spill, Beltrá—an international conservation photographer who’s also documented the Patagonian ice fields, Brazilian Amazon, and tiger habitats of Indonesia—will showcase two months’ worth of images of the disaster in the exhibit Spill at Seattle Aquarium. Examine the reality of Louisiana’s gulf war up close: the oil plumes, the birds, the recovery.