Water is the title of Ian Berry’s new book. He documents a topic that is becoming increasingly important every day. Ian was invited by Henri Cartier-Bresson to join Magnum Photos in 1962 and has taken a multitude of the most memorable photographs of the late 20th and early 21st century.
From the books press release:
Over the course of 15 years, Magnum photojournalist Ian Berry travelled the globe to document the inextricable links between landscape, life and water. This new book brings together a selection of the resulting images which collectively tell the story of man’s complex relationship with water—at a time when climate change demonstrates just how precariously water and life are intertwined.
‘I have gradually become aware through the years of my gathering images that something extraordinary was happening to our world—this year has shown above all others that the planet is struggling. There is too much water in some places, too little in others. Ice is melting at an unprecedented pace and it’s so very easy to dismiss what is happening when we see it briefly on TV and then it’s gone. I am concerned that our ecosystem is less than robust and if just a few people think of ways in which we can support it, I feel I can rest and let my work tell its tale.
The inspiration for Berry to embark on this ambitious project was reporting Greenland’s shrinking glaciers and ice melt, working alongside Danish climatologists, for The Climate Group. This coincided with increased concern and awareness of climate change acceleration and he found himself increasingly documenting the extremes of wildfires, droughts, floods, pollution, deforestation, and the people impacted by these events.
The photographs in the book illustrate the dichotomy of our relationship with water—the role it plays in ancient religious rituals and in building communities, to its exploitation and the devastating result of too little or too much water. They depict Hindus bathing in the Ganges, shellfish-gatherers in coastal Spain; cities levelled to be flooded for the Three Gorges Dam in China; polluted sea surrounding oil infrastructure in Baku, Azerbaijan; fishermen in Greenland navigating melting ice in the ocean; landscapes transformed to dustbowls by drought in South Africa and to villages made into islands by annual flooding in Bangladesh.
It was not Berry’s intention to make a political book, nor an authoritative catalogue of man’s interactions with water, but instead to share the most memorable stories from his assignments that illustrate how water shapes our lives and what the future may hold.
An exhibition of the project will be on display at Visa Pour I’image in Perpignan from 2 -17 September 2023.
Images and information about the book are below.