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La Batea.
Impressions of Gold in Colombia.

Photographs by Stephen Ferry. Text by Elizabeth Ferry.
Red Hook Editions, New York, USA, 2016. Unpaged, color and black-and-white illustrations, 5½x9½".

Publisher's Description

“The cover is adorned with 22 karat gold leaf purchased from the Almacén Madecón, which supplies restorers of religious art in Bogotá.”

A brother-and-sister team, Stephen and Elizabeth Ferry have produced La Batea: Impressions of Gold in Colombia, La Batea explores gold's double effects — situations of violence, contamination, and exploitation, but also of devotion, craftsmanship, and anchored communities. By taking this rounded approach, La Batea aims to contribute to the global debate over the social, political and environmental impacts of gold mining.

The title La Batea comes from the Spanish word for the wooden pan used by artisanal miners to separate gold from the surrounding earth and rock. The technique of working with a batea entails close engagement with the material of gold itself, something we aim to replicate in our photographs, writings, and in the book's design.

The graininess of Stephen’s film, along with the material and construction of the book, work to create a marked sense of texture. A spot of real gold leaf on the cover further materializes the subject matter. With this emphasis on tactile experience, La Batea bends the traditional genres of documentary photography and anthropological writing.

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