“Sometimes a picture forms in front of you, when you least expect it. This was taken in central Turkey, on the shores of the beautiful Lake Salda, in the mountains. Its white sands, azure fresh water, and glowing islets have given it the nickname, the “Turkish Maldives”.
Lake Salda is a magical place. Both visually, but also in its very essence. Its rock and sediment may even hold the secrets to extraterrestrial life, and have provided some of the earliest fossilised records of life on earth.
In 2019, scientists from NASA and Turkey joined forces to examine the microbialites (sedimentary deposits made of carbonate mud formed by microbes) found on its shores, as a way of predicting what may be found on Mars, and provided key research to prepare for the Mars 2020 mission with the #Perseverance rover, searching for signs of ancient life on the surface of Mars itself. In 2021, NASA reported that “the minerals and rock deposits at Lake Salda are the nearest match on Earth to those around the Jezero Crater where the spacecraft landed.”
As I took in the otherworldly surroundings, a group of Muslim women filtered past me, descending, in black abayas and hijabs… their dark clothing contrasting starkly with the beach setting – dark and light. I watched them move across the sand, absorbing the light, laughing with each other, all ages. Small details drawing our their individuality, their presence animating barren shores.
I watched their bodies intersect, morphing, creating negative space, and somewhere in the gaps I knew I wanted to see them aligned, looking out towards the expanse. Defiant.
With the quick help of Google translate, and some negotiation, I persuaded them to participate in making this picture together. We chatted a little, laughed at communication failings, exchanged WhatsApp’s and agreed that they would come and visit in London and do some language exchange. I loved the fact that the woman in the centre shot her hand up in the air to form a peace sign at the last second – normally I discourage such things, but this strips away a layer of austerity, and I feel privileged to have been granted access to their bubble, albeit momentarily.” – Rhiannon Adam
Rhiannon Adam is a photographic artist, born in Cork, Ireland, in 1985. She currently lives and works between London and the US.
In 1992, her parents sold everything they owned and bought a live-aboard sailing boat, Jannes. From that point, her childhood became nomadic, moving from place to place, mainly around South America and the Caribbean. She eventually moved to London as a teenager to live her with aunt, enabling her to begin mainstream education. She later studied at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design and at the University of Cambridge.
Adam’s work is centred on research-based, long-form, social documentary projects that make use of analogue photographic processes and archive materials, as well as her on-going obsession with Polaroid and the materiality of the photographic image. Her early life experiences have had a lasting influence on her work, with a focus on remote communities, the concept of utopia, and the fine line between fact and fiction… READ MORE
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