Salt 4126 (Terrain)
I use the tools of macro photography to gain new perspective on commonplace things, and nothing is more common than salt. Essential as it is to human life, salt finds its place in countless metaphors. We can taste it when we can’t see it, in our tears, on our skin; it makes us thirsty if we have too much. As a mineral in the world, it has a sort of life of its own. Left to its own devices, salt fluctuates between visible and invisible, organizing itself into structures and patterns, and dissolving again. My practice of photographing salt crystals began when one of my children was having trouble with a science project and wanted to grow salt crystals quickly. We tried a few experiments, and discovered that some of the patterns that the salt crystals formed, when photographed and blown up, looked like galaxies. From that point on, the material would offer no end of surprises. Under ideal circumstances, the mineral settles into clean-edged structures that maintain clarity and precise right angles as they grow. But circumstances are rarely ideal. Fluctuations in temperature or humidity, an occasional jostle, or pollution in the water will disrupt the crystal formation. Any state we witness is a moment from a process of becoming, and our own mutable nature is there, in crystals that never quite reach an ideal form. Our understanding of our place in the natural world comes not only from scientific study or dramatic encounters with wild places, but from close attention to the materials and processes that surround us every day.