In Saltscapes, Cris Benton, retired professor of architecture at UC Berkeley, has focused his camera upon the southern end of San Francisco's historic South Bay—the site of salt evaporation ponds that are being restored to tidal wetlands and marshes after a century of industrial salt production. For ten years, Benton researched and was intrigued by the history of these landscapes right in his own backyard. He hiked the salt-pond levees and took photographs of the region. Sky reflections from the earthbound perspective, however, did not do justice to his attempts to capture the confluence of snowy-looking white salt, marsh grass and mudflats. Therefore, Benton began to experiment and decided to attach his camera to a kite.
The book details, in fascinating depth, how he developed his gear and the various prototypes that led him to successfully master Kite Aerial Photography (KAP). Mounting his camera to a radio-controlled kite, Benton has photographed the region from heights up to three hundred feet. This unique, bird's eye vantage point produces distinctive images that peer straight down into the water and the land to reveal unexpected, breathtaking color saturations, textures, shapes, details and form that go beyond what the eye can discern from the ground.
In the foreword of the book, image comparisons are made to the abstract expressionist paintings of Mark Rothko and Benton, himself, pays homage to the artist. This collection of stark, striking photographs visually engage spatial sensibilities and illustrate exciting, fresh perspectives of a largely unexplored American territory in restorative transformation.
Heyday, $50.00, Hardcover, 9781597142472 , 176 pp
Publication Date: December 1, 2013
Note: This review is a reprint and is being posted (in a slightly different form) with the permission of Shelf Awareness. To read this review on Shelf Awareness: Reader's Edition (12/17/13), click HERE