Oct 3, 2013

‘Medusa’ Lake Turns Animals to Stone

 

In Greek mythology, Medusa was a monster with the face of a human female and a head of venomous snakes for hair. Gazing directly upon her would turn any creature to stone.

In northern Tanzania, Lake Natron has had similar effects—on birds in particular. As part of his latest book, Across the Ravaged Land, award-winning photographer Nick Brandt explains:

“I unexpectedly found the creatures – all manner of birds and bats – washed up along the shoreline of Lake Natron in Northern Tanzania. No-one knows for certain exactly how they die, but it appears that the extreme reflective nature of the lake’s surface confuses them, and like birds crashing into plate glass windows, they crash into the lake. The water has an extremely high soda and salt content, so high that it would strip the ink off my Kodak film boxes within a few seconds. The soda and salt causes the creatures to calcify, perfectly preserved, as they dry. I took these creatures as I found them on the shoreline, and then placed them in ‘living’ positions, bringing them back to ‘life’, as it were. Reanimated, alive again in death.” [Source]

 

The arresting images below were taken with a medium format Pentax 67II. Each roll of film comes with only 10 shots and there is no zoom, auto-focus, auto-metering, motor drive or image stabilizing lenses. Brandt only uses two fixed lenses, a 35mm (standard 50mm equivalent) and a 100mm. You can read more about his preference for film and his inspiration for this book in a personal essay entitled, I am the Walrus [PDF].

Across the Ravaged Land is the third and final volume in Brandt’s trilogy of books documenting the disappearing animals of eastern Africa. The book offers a darker vision of this world, still filled with a stunning beauty but now tragically tainted and fast disappearing at the hands of man.

In addition to a range of starkly powerful animal portraits, Brandt introduces some new themes, as humans make an appearance for the first time. He also contributes two essays summing up his photographic odyssey, which has taken more than a decade of intensive work to complete.

[via Gizmodo, New Scientist]

 

visit NICKBRANDT.COM for more

 

 

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nick brandt across the ravaged land book (5)

Photograph by NICK BRANDT
Website | Buy the book Across the Ravaged Land

 

 

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nick brandt across the ravaged land book (3)

Photograph by NICK BRANDT
Website | Buy the book Across the Ravaged Land

 

 

3.

nick brandt across the ravaged land book (6)

Photograph by NICK BRANDT
Website | Buy the book Across the Ravaged Land

 

 

4.

nick brandt across the ravaged land book (2)

Photograph by NICK BRANDT
Website | Buy the book Across the Ravaged Land

 

 

5.

nick brandt across the ravaged land book (1)

Photograph by NICK BRANDT
Website | Buy the book Across the Ravaged Land

 

 

6.

nick brandt across the ravaged land book (4)

Photograph by NICK BRANDT
Website | Buy the book Across the Ravaged Land

 

 

 

visit NICKBRANDT.COM for more

 

 

 

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