These incredibly colorful and beautiful photographs of our toxic waste are by photographer J. Henry Fair.

He elicits curiosity in the processes that produce this toxic waste by creating photographs that look like abstract art:

“If I take a big picture of a belching factory on the river, that says something. But if I get a telephoto lens and zoom in on the swirling, beautiful colors in the waste pit at that factory, well, that becomes an abstract expressionist piece of art that, more than the documentary shot of the whole scene, makes viewers stop and ask questions. Once someone stops to ask questions, then you’ve got their interest.”

He hopes that this curiosity will encourage us to look deeper into the great environmental cost of what we consume and how we live, and perhaps to make shifts for the better.

Do these photographs make you want to learn more about the story behind them?

For more photographs, see this article in Slate, and the artist’s personal web site.