Project info

The Northwestern provinces of Salta, Catamarca and Jujuy in Argentina are commonly referred to as NOA (NorOeste Argentino). This series of photographs was produced on successive trips, between 2005 and 2007, up into the pre-andean plains – the altiplano – at an average altitude of 4000m high. Here oxygen, water, the fauna and flora are scarce, but minerals abound. It is an area of slat flats, volcanoes, deserts and mountains. This project that was born from my fascination for the beauty and abstractness of the landscape, rapidly evolved into a need to document this particularly fragile region, which is now under serious threat of desecration due to man’s eagerness to extract the rich minerals from its soils.

— Emma Livingston

The question of the beauty of the landscape is one of the classical points of controversy in the visual arts. The British photographer Emma Livingston has developed her own approach with which she faces this question. The photographs of the “NOA” series she produced between 2005 and 2007, which are concerned with the character of the stony-inhospitable environment in northwestern Argentina, seem unusually flat and mono- chromatic. The peculiar perspective eschews the genre-immanent horizon line and directs the focus instead from the landscape form to the mineral-rich material of the ground. The use of light in her photographs also consciously does without drama. The camera registers almost coolly the breathtaking color gradients that have developed in the millennia-long interaction among wind, sun, and aridity. This also discreetly takes up the theme of the photographic glance’s ephemerality in the face of natural forces: what does the moment count for in the face of eternity?

— Kito Nedo