Aramco's seven full-time photographers thought they had recorded the company's installations from every conceivable range, angle, height—and in every conceivable color. In the last few years, however, with advancements in highly sensitive film, unconventional lenses and increasingly sophisticated darkroom instruments, they have found that the outer limits of creativity are still to be explored.
This spring, between such routine assignments as safety awards and the appearances of successively larger tankers at the Ras Tanura marine terminal, Chief Photographer Burnett H. Moody and his staff initiated some far-out experiments with color. What they wanted to find out was how Aramco's equipment, installations and people would look when subjected to a combination of photography's 1969 palette of hues and their own inventiveness. The results can be seen here.
The photographers achieved some of these effects with the camera by using a special multi-prism lens, by zooming during a time exposure at night, by shooting through a variety of color filters. Others came out of the photo lab where multi-printing with infra-red color, montage slide duplicating, or the use of a moire pattern overlay and color filters attached to the enlarger transformed ordinary transparencies into displays of psychedelic color. What they depict, however, are simply onshore and offshore drilling, Aramco's discovery well, Dammam No. 7, the Abqaiq stabilizer plant, the new crude topping unit at Ras Tanura, a Saudi worker and the company's late, venerated chief guide, Khamis ibn Rimthan, as they never would appear to the eye of any beholder we know.
— The Editors