Starlings on Fire

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11th November 2013 – 12th August 2014

Being strapped to a seat inside a metal cylinder and then submerged in a large, deep pool of tepid water, to perform helicopter safety and escape drills, was the easy part. Establishing a way of getting onto an offshore installation in the North Sea to work, let alone undertake a photography project, was definitely going to be the hard part.

In late 2013, a sequence of photography projects and wild notions had brought me to an Offshore Survival Centre in Aberdeen where I undertook the Basic Offshore Safety Induction and Emergency Training course – the minimum requirement for anyone wanting to work offshore in the Oil and Gas Industry. Completing the course didn’t guarantee anything, other than a fairly deep hole in my pockets.

For the following 10 months, while continuing my work as a photographer, I contacted all the Recruitment Agencies, Drilling Contractors and Facilities Companies based in Aberdeen, trying to find a route into the offshore world. I had to be very resourceful. Photography is not a particularly transferable skill into the Oil and Gas Industry.

I got lucky, and in August 2014 I started my first, 2-week trip offshore. It was on the Janice Alpha Platform, situated in the central North Sea, approximately 175 miles south east of Aberdeen.

I remember my first helicopter flight. I was simultaneously excited and anxious. It was the antithesis of the life as a photographer I had known up to that point. Exactly what I was looking for. As we approached the production platform, I looked out of the window and witnessed this vibrant, bright orange gas flare and what appeared to me to be a chaotic, tangled web of piping floating in the sea. It seemed surreal, alien and almost post-apocalyptic. My life offshore was about to begin.

 

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Apr 16, 2014 | Uncategorized

1 comment

  1. Mr WordPress
    April 16, 2014

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