Will Florida Still Draw Tourists If It Permits Oil Drilling?

A Decade After the BP Spill, a Visit to Mexico's Side of the Gulf Shows That Florida's ‘Pristine’ Beaches Are a Myth

For five pesos, I could hold the crocodilo. The handler stood in the shadows of Veracruz’s boardwalk. When I asked why he had an alligator, he told me that he worked for a conservation group, though I did not see any hat or the requisite shirt, no flyers or posters—just a young guy, hustling nature on a Sunday night.

I gave the handler some change and he gave me the juvenile crocodilo. Of course, I wanted a picture.

The transfer was awkward. “Hold your phone in your left hand,” the handler …

From Bakersfield, You Can See Forever | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

From Bakersfield, You Can See Forever

A Panoramic View From a Kern County Park Shows the Convergence of California's Past, Present, and Future

From the tunnel view of Yosemite Valley to just about any glimpse of the Golden Gate, California is famous for its extraordinary vistas. But if you’re looking for the state’s …

A Disquieting Look at Life Around the Caspian Sea

Photographer Chloe Dewe Mathews Captures the Geography of the Land and the Practices That Connect People to It

The Caspian Sea is the world’s largest inland body of water, nestled between Europe and Asia, and surrounded by five countries: Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Turkmenistan. Through history, the …

In Louisiana’s Fishing Villages, Food and Faith Are Found in the Water

Photographer J. T. Blatty Captures a Vanishing Way of Life in the Bayou

For generations, water has provided everything to the people of southeastern Louisiana’s fishing communities. Their meals. Their livelihoods. Their recreation. Their birthright. Even their faith, as one photograph by J. …

How Venezuela’s Oil Riches Fueled a Literary Explosion

In the Mid-20th Century, Writers Seized on the Conflicts Laid Bare by Petroleum's Power to Reshape Society

On December 14, 1922, a gusher of petroleum was discovered in Zulia, a rural area of western Venezuela. For nine days the oil showered onto the surrounding farmland, scaring the …

What Saudi Arabia’s Vibrant Art Scene Says About Its Internal Struggles

Artists Are Using Ambiguity to Probe the Fault Line Between Modernity and Conservative Islam

When I first saw Ajlan Gharem’s video, “Paradise Has Many Gates,” at an art studio in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, I was amazed.

It opens with a small single-story structure made …