“The Low Land” is a project about the present, past and future of the Netherlands, a low-lying country neighboring the sea and filled with the freshwater of many river deltas.
Over the course of four years, photographer Siebe Swart used a helicopter to photograph the entire coastline from south to the north. He also made an inventory of the Netherlands’ rivers: the Meuse, Scheldt, Rhine and IJssel . Swart’s unique aerial photos show the damage done by past floods, the ever present danger of the water today and how dikes, overflow channels and weirs protect the fragile country.
The struggle against water continues in the current era of climate change. Swart’s latest work, tentatively titled “ManMade Land”, focuses on how the Dutch created their land in the past centuries and how this relationship continues today. In the past and present, engineers and farmers have served as designers of the landscape, working to shape their surrounding world. The modern landscape of the Netherlands, as it has been for centuries, is predicated on the interaction between nature and artifice.
Editor’s Note: We first discovered Swart’s work when he attended LensCulture Fotofest Paris 2013.