Having said that, the photographs of "humanity" are absolutely outstanding and the photographer Valery Lyman deserves a huge note of appreciation for sharing. Compare and contrast these photographs with those coming out of the Ukraine, Syria, Detroit, Chicago, the US-Mexico border, and Los Angeles (just for starters). Also, note the ages of most of the folks in the photographs; note their expressions. Note the ethnicity of those photographed. Note: Amtrak. Note no signs of winter. Many of the people in the photographs will simply pass through Williston, just one stop among many in their lives; others will end up staying. Some will become fabulously rich; some will end up homeless, broken physically and mentally. But all will have a story to tell.
It is well worth your time to spend some time getting to know Valery Lyman. Some links:
- as producer of two documentary series
- Filmography at the NY Times
- I like this story even more, and more photos
In one of Valery's articles she mentioned the dangerous life of the "roughneck."
The Rapid City Journal recently had an excellent article on roughnecks in the Bakken. The headline: roughneck oil workers are the princes of the fields.
After a week spent back home in Hot Springs, Kenneth Kiser packed his pickup with groceries, kissed his wife, Sarah, and baby daughter Klayton, and headed seven hours north to Williston, where he'll spend the next three weeks at work on the front lines of America's latest gold rush.
Around the same time, Jo Ji John waved goodbye to his family in Sacramento, Calif., and headed off on a 20-hour drive back to the Bakken. Last year, John was away from his family for 315 out of 365 days.
Both men have worked the Bakken oil fields for three years, where staying busy helps keep their minds off the significant time they spend away from family.
But while on the job, Kiser and John are members of an elite fraternity of skilled workers in the oil fields: they are "roughnecks."
“Roughneck” is a term of endearment worn exclusively by those who work directly on or in an oil rig, very close to the action. Kiser’s forte is the drilling side of roughnecking — making the hole, so to speak. John’s specialty is lining the hole with its final pipe in a process called casing.And that's just the beginning of a great article. Strong recommendation to read.