In the second monograph by artist Chloe Sells, Flamingo, the images are adapted from photographs taken in the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans in Botswana, one of the largest breeding grounds for flamingos in the Southern Hemisphere.
In a statement, Sells describes the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans as an “albino birthmark…a place on earth that looks like white paint has spilled from the heavens and splashed across its surface. There is no arboreal green. There is no azure water. There is no earthy, brown soil.”
The Makgadikgadi Salt Pans are situated in the middle of the Kalahari Desert in north-eastern Botswana and create one of the most massive salt flats in the world. The pans are all that remain of the formerly enormous Lake Makgadikgadi. “Thought to be one of the largest on earth, thousands of years ago the waters that fed this lake shifted and it became a series of smaller lakes, eventually evaporating all together leaving salt flats stretching to the horizon,” explains the artist.
Sells’ photographs are made using a large format film camera and are printed in a traditional darkroom. “The darkroom process is spontaneous and consuming, layering light, texture and form to interact with photographic alchemy. Some of the images are drawn on after they have been printed with paint and marker,” states the press release. Because of the way Sells works, each outcome is unique.
Sells says, “At the best of times the beauty of the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans is profound, at the worst of times the desert will fold you into its great white belly—never to return. It is on these relict shorelines that the work for this book was created. I never did find the flamingos…”
Born in Aspen, Colorado, Sells currently lives and works between London and Maun, Botswana. Her work has been the subject of numerous international solo exhibitions and her first monograph ‘Swamp’ was shortlisted for the Arles book award in 2016.
Flamingo by Chloe Sells
Published November 2017, Gost Books
72pages / 330 x 215mm portrait / Full colour
Hardback, silk screen cover/ Foiled title page and a die cut through the whole book
£40 / €45 / $50