Taken for granted in modern times salt remains one of the most important minerals for human survival. Our bodies demand it. Since humans have walked this earth we have searched for sources of salt and for millennia the control of a salt source and its trade provided empires with power and wealth. Before the development of refrigeration, salt was vital in the preservation of food, and in making it taste better. Without salt to preserve meat or fish, early explorers and sailors would have been unable to travel vast distances.
Throughout history local people have developed some ingenious and fascinating ways of extracting salt and this fact alone formed the basis of the salt project. In remote regions throughout the world, on isolated islands, hidden in remote valleys or high up on mountainous plateaus, some people still use the methods of old to produce this vital mineral.
This project was the result of 5 years of work, a collaboration between architect Mikel Landa and photographer Luke Duggleby. The aim was to document and illustrate some of the world’s most unique and special traditional salt producing places on four continents, aiming to show the sheer diversity of salt production and the communities that still rely on it for their livelihood.
But modernisation has led to many salt works being abandoned in industrialised countries, a process that is slowly reaching every traditional salt works 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. This project looked to capture varied and incredible process of making salt before these traditions cease.
This comprehensive history of salt production was published in German in a large format book by German publisher mareVerlag (www.mare.de) and is available in the German speaking countries of Germany, Austria and Switzerland.