Salt Flats

This work looks to make connection between the way silver halide salt crystals are suspended within a gelatine traditionally used for analogue film. And way the salt crystals sit within the salt flats/marshes to be found within the North West of France.

The idea was to see these salt flats/marshes as an active emulsion due to the way in which salt is suspended in the water of these flats.

The salt flats/marshes around Guérande in France near to Saint-Nazaire on the coast of the Atlantic covers 1,400 hectares of geometric shapes and dates back to the 9th century. A core part of maintaining the flats is based around regulating water levels in a sequence of basins so that the water evaporates and the salt crystallizes.

In this way, without using any machines or chemicals, just a special rake the paludiers gather what gets referred to as a “white gold” at particular harvesting times. Rather than seeing the salt crystals as a “white gold” I see it more as a “white silver”.

Below is an illustration showing the basic structure of analogue film and the suspension of silver halide crystals in a gelatine binder


Below is an image showing a photomicrograph of silver halide grain structures in different photographic plates. The image below of the different plates together relates to me to the layout of the salt flats of Guérande in the images below it.

The salt flats of Guérande usually work as a series of flats the number of which varies as a row and each row is doubled up. A row is never on its own.

The sequences of salt flats can be seen from above via aerial photography (the images below have simply been taken as screen grabs from Google Satellite).

What I’m interested in is making a connection between the salt flats of Guérande being living active plates of emulsion. The salt solution of the salt flats relating to the way in which silver halide crystals sit within a gelatine solution to work as film emulsion. Salt Marshes of Guérande, Brittany France