In January and February 1991, as the United States–led coalition drove Iraqi forces out of Kuwait, Saddam Hussein’s troops retaliated with an inferno. At some 700 oil wells and an unspecified number of oil-filled low-lying areas, they ignited vast, raging fires, creating one of the worst environmental disasters in living memory.
As the desperate efforts to contain and extinguish the conflagration progressed, Sebastião Salgado traveled to Kuwait to witness the crisis firsthand. The conditions were excruciating. The heat was so vicious that Salgado’s smallest lens warped. A journalist and another photographer were killed when a slick ignited as they crossed it. Sticking close to the firefighters, Salgado braved the intense danger, stench, pollution, and scorching temperatures to capture the ravaged landscape; the air choking on charred sand and soot; the blistered remains of camels; the sand littered with cluster bombs; the flames and smoke soaring to the skies, blocking out the sunlight, dwarfing the oil-soaked firefighters.
Salgado’s epic pictures first appeared in the New York Times Magazine in June 1991 and were subsequently awarded the Oskar Barnack Award, recognizing outstanding images on the relationship between man and the environment. Kuwait: A Desert on Fire is the first monograph of this astonishing series. Like Genesis, Exodus, and The Children, it is as much a major document of modern history as an extraordinary body of photographic work.
About the Limited Edition: Kuwait: A Desert on Fire is the first major monograph of this extraordinary collection. It presents more than 80 images, interlaid with transparency paper, and printed with cutting-edge High Definition Skia Photography technology. This new era of photographic printing allows, for the first time, all visible elements captured by the camera to transfer to print, achieving a visible range close to the very limits of what the human eye can perceive and a new level of three-dimensionality on the page.
The Limited Edition of Kuwait: A Desert on Fire is printed in an edition of 1,000 signed and numbered copies. Housed in a custom clamshell box.