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The Limits of Preservation

by LiveModern Webmaster last modified Jan 04, 2012 02:56 AM
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by Geoff Manaugh (noreply@blogger.com) last modified Nov 27, 2011



 

 

[Images: From Minescape by Brett Van Ort].

The Minescape project by Los Angeles-based photographer Brett Van Ort looks at the ironic effects of landmines on the preservation of natural landscapes, placing woods, meadows, and even remote country roads off-limits, fatally tainted terrains given back to animals and vegetation.

[Images: From Minescape by Brett Van Ort].

"Left over munitions and landmines from the wars in the early 1990s still litter the countryside in Bosnia," Van Ort explains.
According to BHMAC (the Mine Action Committee for Bosnia and Herzegovina), just over 3.5% of the land area of the country is still contaminated by landmines. Many of the deminers in the field believe roughly 10% of the country can still be deemed a landmine area. They also feel that nowhere in the countryside is safe, as they may clear one area but a torrential downpour may unearth landmines upstream or upriver; consequently, these unearthed landmines find their way into vicinities that were deemed safe weeks, months or even years ago.
While visiting the landscapes himself, Van Ort adds, "some people told me not to walk into nature at all."

[Images: From Minescape by Brett Van Ort].

The photographs seen here juxtapose shots of natural landscapes considered safe—that is, free of landmines—with portraits of the mines once buried there.

"The viewers of these photographs," Van Ort suggests, "should ask themselves: which of these landscapes would they feel comfortable walking into?"

[Images: From Minescape by Brett Van Ort].

The project closes with a particularly dark observation: "I see the idea of hand-placed landmines protecting the natural setting and allowing the environment to regenerate itself as an ironic twist on our inability to conserve and see into the future."

[Images: From Minescape by Brett Van Ort].

More photos from the series—including a taxonomy of artificial limbs necessitated by encounters with the landmines—are available on Van Ort's website.

(Thanks to Jon Rennie for the tip! See also the DMZ Peace Park Project).

 

 

 
 
 

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