Title: At Water’s Edge
Photographers: Paul Blackmore
Foreword: Robert McFarlane
Introduction: Lucinda Holdforth
Date of publication: 2012
Place of publication: Sydney, Australia
Dimensions of book: 306mm wide x 260mm deep / 12 x 10.4 in.
Number of pages: 132
Number of images: 59 duotoned B&W photographs.
Cover, Type of binding: Hard Cover with Dust Jacket
Type of printing: Offset
Type of paper:
Publisher: T&G Publishing
Publication editor: Alex Hedley
Digital Imaging: Vasili Vasileiadis
Art Direction: Sharon Little
Retail price: $70
Category: Photo book
Summary of Project:
‘Water has no taste, no colour, no odour; it cannot be defined, art relished while ever mysterious. Not necessary to life, but rather life itself. It fills us with a gratification that exceeds the delight of the senses.’
At Water’s Edge, the long-awaited publication from photographer Paul Blackmore, explores the relationship between humanity and its most vital natural resource. This extraordinary body of work – spanning 11 years and 14 countries – provides a global look at how water flows through the spiritual and physical daily lives of people around the world. The photographs poignantly illustrate the unfolding drama of the global water crisis and how it is affecting those caught up in it: a billion people without access to clean water, another four billion without an adequate supply. Against this dire backdrop, the work also celebrates the quiet, yet essential connection with nature that water offers us.
At Water’s Edge begins in in the year 2000, during the Eritrean/Ethiopian war, when a lack of water became drastically affected those attempting to flee the conflict. The scarcity of clean water has also evolved into a devastating drama still seen in many Third World cities, particularly in Mumbai, where even the city’s poorest citizens are forced to pay exorbitant amounts for clean water. Blackmore also explores strange scenarios that occur when seas die. In Kazakhstan, Blackmore discovered that a once glistening body of water, the Aral Sea, had lost two-thirds of its volume after source waters had been diverted for cotton irrigation, during the Soviet era. Blackmore recorded a desolate, surreal image of a lone, rusting fishing boat stranded on the dry seabed, symbolising the Aral Sea’s now devastated fishing industry.
Contrasting strongly with powerful environmental statements are images of extraordinary beauty, as Blackmore defines the global spiritual and religious importance of water. Spiritual ecstasy experienced during the Saut D’eau Voodoo waterfall pilgrimage in Haiti contrasts with the Mayim Shelanu water collecting ritual in Israel. At Water’s Edge also explores images that range from the icy temperatures of the Festival of the Epiphany in Russia to the steamy waters of the Japanese ‘onsen’.
Paul Blackmore is one of a new generation of photojournalists – reporters of reality. His elegant, coherent and breathtaking observations function equally well as both valuable records of social change and fine-art images. His photography, represented by the exclusive French agency Rapho, has been widely exhibited internationally. His prominence as an established and collectable photographer gaining further momentum by his inclusion at the Biennale DʼLimage France 2011, exhibitions at Camera One, New York, Stills Gallery Sydney and the Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne.