Minescape by Brett Van Ort
“God has to nearly kill us sometimes, to teach us lessons.” –John Muir
The statistics are staggering-100 million mines in the Earth. At the present rate of mine clearance these weapons will continue to remain on the planet for some 1000 to 1500 years.
Left over munitions and landmines from the wars in the early 1990s still litter the countryside in Bosnia and Herzegovina. I traveled there in late 2009 to photograph areas that were once the front lines of the Bosnian War.
As a vast majority of the mining during the Bosnian War was undocumented or known only to foot soldiers that fought in the areas, many innocent civilians continue to lose their lives.
Bosnia and Herzegovina's Mine Action Center (BHMAC) believes nearly 1,700 people have been injured or killed by unexploded war ordnance, among them 230 children. The cost of landmines does not stop there.
Landmines stunt the economic and social vitality of entire regions of Bosnia. The vast majority of the former front lines of the war, fought between 1992 and 1995, are still considered no-go areas whether or not minefields are present or not.
According to BHMAC just over 3.5% of the country was still contaminated by landmines in 2009.
My still photography focuses on landscape and our interaction with it. My work has pushed me towards exploring landscape that on the surface appears pristine and untouched but, in fact, is still manipulated and altered by man.
In opting to include portions of humanity in this project by way of photos of prosthetic limbs and the landmines, I wanted to confront the viewer with the choice of interacting with these landscapes as you can see in the installation below.
Now I am asking for your help to produce a book of the resulting work from the project. As is the case with most photographic book publishing these days I must raise a large portion of the funds myself.
The book will be 10" x 12" (24.5 cm x 30 cm) and soft cover copies will be available in stores upon it's release in early March 2013. There will be approximately 80 pages in the soft cover book including approximately 30 color plates. By purchasing the book by way of this Kickstarter campaign you will receive a copy of the book signed by me. See the donation levels to the right of this page for more gifts at other levels.
Daylight is publishing the book. Already having an amazing track record of producing outstanding documentary photography projects, the team at Daylight approached me to produce the book for their Spring 2013 lineup. I am humbled at the offer but I still must raise some of the funds to make the book a reality.
In purchasing a print or book or even one of the installation pieces that have already shown internationally in many group and solo shows, you will be contributing to my efforts to make this book a reality. If I am unable to raise these funds, the book will not be published.
Perhaps more importantly, with every purchase of a book, print or installation piece you are enhancing the awareness of the issue of landmines.
This process can be expedited but pressure must first be applied to countries such as the United States, Russia, China, India and Pakistan, among others, to stop producing and using the mines according to the Ottawa Treaty which outlaws the production and use of landmines worldwide.
In November, 2012 I will hold a solo show of the project in Los Angeles, CA. The show will be seen in April, 2013 at VII gallery in Brooklyn, NY.
In contributing even the smallest amount to the book you will ensure that your name will be present at these shows and every solo show for the next five years. Your name and support will serve as a reminder to all those around the world that must live in the constant threat of landmines and unexploded ordinance.
- (21 days)