Curse Of The Black Gold | 50 Years Of Oil In The Niger Delta | Photographs By Ed Kashi | Edited By Michael Watts | Photography Book Recommendation


Written by Joelcy Kay

Editor & Curator of Edge of Humanity Magazine


The Urhobo People baking tapioca using the heat generated by a gas flare (pp.20-23) starts off this massive depiction of daily life in the Niger Delta and the impact of oil on the lives of its inhabitants.

The images throughout this book illustrate resilience and poverty, in a place where oil spills seem to be a norm; emitting a level of realism (a feeling of being there). The photos depicting environmental pollution makes the viewer gasp for air (pp.30-33), they tell a story of hard working people, living without sanitation under the shadows of oil.

Oil facility images (pp.50-59) are presented in tight shots of workers in action and also on aerial photographs. Workers are found wearing full protective gear even behind computer workstations.

The book cover image is found on (ch. Slave Ship to Oil Tankers) which also contains interesting historical pictures and facts.  Wider than presented on the cover, this two pages portrait of two men’s torso holding machetes and soaked in oil while cleaning up an oil spill, has no protective gear on sight (pp.66-67).

The Empire of Commodities chapter, again with historical images and facts, depicts fish (fish market, drying fish and selling fish). My favorite (p.80-81) displays a child on the mother’s back and fish for sale all around.

After flipping through easy to see images of children playing (ch. Generation) one must take a deep breath or a long sip of whiskey in order to carry on.  The following images of a slaughterhouse are dark in all aspects with an apocalyptic vibe (pp.120-127).  You know you are looking at a documentary, but your emotional reaction is surreal just enough not to lose grip of the extremely harsh reality it portrays;  impressive, out of this world photographs , thank you Ed.

Poverty in print can be found in chapter Vanishing Soft Side that depicts dwelling and lack of sanitation.  The image of a person bathing (pp.134-135) is my favorite.

A girl holds a colorful Shell umbrella while she walks on pipelines, a storytelling image (ch. Now is the Time, pp.148-149).

Photographs of vibrant lady’s dresses and headdresses lift the mood on ch. Twelve Years Later.  Also included are shots of celebrations, daily life and food markets. My favorite image (pp.170-171) depicts three women, dressed for a traditional wedding.

The final images in ‘Curse Of The Black Gold | 50 Years Of Oil In The Niger Delta’ depicts painful moments of struggle, human suffering and structural loss. Grand Commander the book’s last chapter contains strong, high impact pictures of men holding heavy fire power and death.

‘Curse Of The Black Gold | 50 Years Of Oil In The Niger Delta’ is a must have for photography collectors of raw images and anyone interested in Africa’s social issues and the power of oil in recent history.  A large percentage of the images occupied two pages of the book, you remember them after you close the covers.


For book specifics see below:

Curse of the Black Gold: 50 Years of Oil in The Niger Delta


Are you looking to have a published review of your Photo Book?

  Edge of Humanity Magazine’s curator is now reviewing photo books. Joelcy Kay (the curator of Edge of Humanity Magazine and the NO MIDDLEMAN ART GALLERY) has written many reviews for books in the Edge of Humanity Magazine’s Photography Book Collection and now she is available to write yours.  

Here are some of her book recommendations:


Living Faith

Inside the Muslim World of Southeast Asia

By Steve Raymer

Photography Book Recommendation

By Edge of Humanity Magazine


Under A Grudging Sun

By Alex Webb

Photography Book Recommendation

By Edge of Humanity Magazine



Peoples Of The Omo Valley

By Hans Silvester

Photography Book Recommendation

By Edge of Humanity Magazine



By Edward Burtynsky

Photography Book Recommendation By Edge

of Humanity Magazine


Figments From The Real World

By Garry Winogrand

Photography Book Recommendation

By Edge of Humanity Magazine


You can choose to have your (Photography Book Recommendation By Edge Of Humanity Magazine) published on the Edge of Humanity Magazine or at the NO MIDDLEMAN ART GALLERY Visual ART Blog.  For more information on this new service please email Joelcy at .



 Edge of Humanity Magazine project.


The NO MIDDLEMAN ART GALLERY is designed to connect art seekers and collectors with artists DIRECTLY.  The gallery is not a mall, but instead a collection of remarkable works of art that bring together artists and potential buyers.

Following Edge of Humanity Magazine‘s footsteps of publishing unparalleled content from artists and photographers worldwide, the NO MIDDLEMAN ART GALLERY is on a mission to provide it’s viewers art that is unique and diverse.


Written By Joelcy Kay – Curator

Every piece of art, crafts, or textiles, hanging on my walls or ceiling tells a tiny passage of my life.  Most of it was acquired during my travels.  Many of these treasures are damaged whether because they were broken on arrival, as the pieces were tightly stuffed into my backpack, or weathered by the unforgiving Florida tropical humidity.  But in the end, they are my precious processions and they are part of the stories I tell.  It feels good to have rugs hanging from the ceiling, masks on the walls, and drinking my morning coffee thinking of the mugs’ tale.  The point here is that art has a lot to offer each one of us; ART IS VERY PERSONAL!

The NO MIDDLEMAN ART GALLERY offers that personal experience as the individual has the opportunity to buy the art from the creator and by doing so a new event to remember is born. When you hang the work of art on your wall there is a story behind it; an artist you now know and follow.  And instead of the usual “I purchased this at “WWW(BIG BIG ART STORE).COM”  the connection enriches the emotional value of your art piece.


The gallery is designed to connect the art seekers and collectors with artists directly. We offer artists a COMMISSION FREE / CONTRACT FREE online platform to sell their creations and engage with their clients using portfolio pages that are engaging with large images and a dramatic black background.

NO MIDDLEMAN is a boutique ART GALLERY; individuals browsing our archives and portfolio pages are relaxed, not pressured to sign up, agree with website terms, or maneuvering out of pop-up windows.

For details regarding participating in the NO MIDDLEMAN ART GALLERY please contact Joelcy Kay the curator at

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See also:

Photography Articles *  Photography Book Recommendations  ART Book Reviews

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