British photographer Mishak Henner’s aerial photographs of factory farms across America show a nightmare of stagnant green and red waste lagoons interspersed with the dull brown of crowded animal paddocks. Henner used satellite imagery to create his photographic series, entitled ‘Feedlots.’
In an interview with Fast Co., Henner reveals that he was researching satellite photographs of oil fields when he discovered the feedlot images, and he didn’t even realize what they depicted at first.
“While I was working on that series I was looking intensely at the American landscape, and that’s when I came across these really strange-looking structures, like a big lagoon, or all these dots that look like microbes…I think what the feedlots represent is a certain logic about how culture and society have evolved. On one level it’s absolutely terrifying, that this is what we’ve become. They’re not just feedlots. They’re how we are.”
Feedlots were developed after WWII, due to the rise of fast food operations and consumers demanding more beef at a lower price. The massive waste lagoons on the feedlots waft up dangerous hydrogen sulfide fumes and can contaminate groundwater with nitrates and antibiotics, reports Fast Co.
The photo series is only one example of recent environmentally conscious media presentations about factory farming, including Ron Fricke and Mark Magidson’s SAMSARA documentary and Chipotle’s short film, The Scarecrow.