Currently on show from now to 29 Mar is a series of new, large-scale colour photographs in an ongoing series entitled Salt Pans. Shot by acclaimed Canadian photographer, Edward Burtynsky, he traveled to Gurajat, India, to photograph the Little Rann of Kutch from atop a helicopter during an intense ten-day period.
The striking geometric images present the pans, wells and vehicle tracks that are home to more than 100,000 salt workers extracting around one million tons of salt from the floodwaters of the Arabian sea each year. The images show abstract, painterly patterns and subtly colored rectangles crossed by grids of gestural lines. In recent years, Burtynsky’s photographs have become increasingly abstract as a result of his topographical perspective and fascination with finding similarities to painting in the industrialized landscape.
However, the reality behind these disarmingly beautiful images is a harsh one. Each year thousands of poorly paid Agariya workers toil in the pans to extract large quantities of salt from the floodwaters. Furthermore, receding groundwater levels, combined with debt, diminishing market values as well as a lack of governmental support, threaten the future of this 400-year-old tradition and the lives dependent on it. With these stunning images, Burtynsky skillfully captures the delicate balance between natural and human processes—the presence of salt in the earth’s composition and our need to harness it.
The photographs in this show were recently published in a book titled Edward Burtynsky: Salt Pans by the German publishing house Steidl. Work from this series will be on display alongside a select group of images from another new book Edward Burtynsky: Essential Elements, which examines the artist’s work across four decades.
For more information, click here.