The Colour of Dirt: Photographing Soil

Project in development 2016/2017

Soil Chromas of three different clay soils

At many different timescales humans are a factor in soil formation, for example be it the gradual layering of material from socio-industrial occupation or from land clearing. This human influence is often seen in the negative frame of erosion, degradation or contamination but soil modification can also lead to enhanced fertility whether it is intentional or an unintended consequence of human activities. Archaeologists in certain weather conditions can see the outlines of buried foundations highlighted by the change in colour of vegetation; the varied soil composition is brought to light.

Soil Chromatography: A photographic technique to examine soil quality using silver nitrate, after development, what is left is a visual colour map of the soil sample: the minerals, microbes and enzymes at work. The brighter and more distinct the chromagraph the healthier the soil sample is. I would like to ‘bring to light’ reclamation and renewal by surveying the soil of planned and unplanned green spaces within the city.