I was born and bred in York but moved to Asia in 2003 to further my career. I will be sharing with you a long-term project that was completed at the end of 2015 and published as a book in Germany, Austria and Switzerland called Salz der Erde by mareVerlag. Translated as Salt of the Earth the project was a collaboration between myself and a Spanish architect called Mikel Landa and documents the most unique and traditional salt making places on every continent from China to Uganda, Indonesia to Peru.
Taken for granted in modern times salt remains one of the most important minerals for human survival. Our bodies demand it. Since we walked this earth humans have searched out salt and for millennia the control of a salt source and its trade provided empires with power and wealth.Â And why? Because before the development of refrigeration, salt was vital in preserving food, and of course making food taste better. Without salt to preserve meat or fish early explorers and sailors would have had a much harder time during their travels.
Throughout history local people have developed some ingenious and sometimes bizarre ways of extracting salt and this fact alone formed the basis of this book. In remote regions throughout the world, on isolated islands, hidden in remote valleys or high up on mountainous plateaus, people still use the methods of old to produce this vital mineral.Â But modernization has led to many saltworks being abandoned in industrialized countries, a process that is slowly reaching every traditional saltworks even those in remote regions. Cheap low-quality factory salt has flooded the market and as a result the demand for labour intensive traditional salt, despite its superior quality, declined.
Taking 5 years to complete I will be posting a selection of my favorite images from this project. You can follow me on IG at @lukedugglebyphoto.