Dan is a British documentary photographer based in Northern Norway. He studied Documentary Photography at the Magnum affiliated Newport University in South Wales. His main photographic interest lies in anthropology. Within that, He seeks out themes that explore how humans interact with their surroundings and how modern infrastructure and ideology coexists with the natural world. Dan’s approach to the photographic process sees him working on lengthy research based projects, analysing a story in full before committing to the image making process. He is currently working as a freelance photographer, splitting his time between working on commissioned editorial work and developing his documentary practice.
As glaciers cut through northern Pennsylvania, something remarkable was happening beneath the ground. Over millions of years a fermentation had taken place due to the combined effect of extreme heat and pressure upon layers of organic matter. In time a thick dark liquid, later to be known as crude oil, evolved. This and its by-product, natural gas, would soon become human civilisation’s most valuable commodity. In the early 1800’s, after the emergence of stories of a black liquid seeping from the ground, the then fledgling Seneca Oil Company sent Colonel Edwin Drake, a retired railroad worker from New York, in search of this elusive substance. Selected only because he had a free rail pass and plenty of time on his hands, Drake was tasked with securing a reliable method of rock oil extraction in the hope it could be used for lamp oil. Little did he know, a long, Difficult and frustrating search lay ahead of him. Obstacle after obstacle thwarted Drake’s attempts, including collapsed drilling wells, impenetrable bedrock and abandonment by the very company who sent him in the first place. As painfully slow and seemingly unproductive progress was being made, many of the local residents would gather to mock and jeer at the operation, dubbing it “Drake’s Folly”. However, Drake kept faith and a short while later, on the 27th of August 1859 in Titusville, Pennsylvania and at a depth of 69.5 feet, Drake’s drill made a discovery that would change the planet forever. Unbeknown to him, Drake had made a discovery that would not only illuminate peoples’ homes but also radically trans- form the evolution of human civilisation.