Picturing the American Drought: George Steinmetz

New Mexico
George Steinmetz for TIME
Water levels in New Mexico’s Elephant Butte Reservoir in the Rio Grande Valley are at extreme lows.

As Bryan Walsh writes this week, drought is one of the most insidious types of natural disaster, but no less devastating. The recent record-setting period of dry weather in the American South has caused billions of dollars of damage, ruined crops, and altered entire ecosystems, and it may get worse.

TIME commissioned renowned aerial photographer and photojournalist George Steinmetz to document the effects of the drought in Texas, New Mexico, and Georgia. On his journey, Steinmetz quickly found that even in the driest sections of the country, the cliched idea of the bowl of cracked earth and dust was neither common nor representative of the crisis. In many places, green on the ground was simply evidence of the intensity of water usage for irrigation, homes, and recreation. The effect of the drought can only begin to be appreciated when we see the lakes and reservoirs where the water is coming from, or what the land looks like when we are forced to stop watering.

Reporting by Alyson Krueger

Related Topics: , , , , , , ,

Latest Posts

Martin Schoeller

The Photo That Made Me: Martin Schoeller, New York 1998

Martin Schoeller's portrait of Vanessa Redgrave, shot in 1988, established the photographer's iconic style and jump-started his career

Read More
Congolese attend a Sunday church service in the village of Kitshanga, in Masisi territory on March 9, 2014.

Photojournalism Daily: Oct. 1, 2014

A view over the village of Ngomashi, four hours trek over mountains and through thick bush from the end of the nearest road, Aug 14, 2014.

See the Real Impact of War in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 16,807 other followers