Ethereal, Minimalist Photos of an Australian Salt Mine

The Photo Blog
April 20 2014 11:05 AM

Ethereal, Minimalist Photos of an Australian Salt Mine

4

Emma Phillips

Emma Phillips’ photographs of a salt mine in the Nullarbor Plain of Western Australia make the familiar look otherworldly. The landscapes, featuring towering pyramids of white in muted tones, are studies in simplicity and abstraction. “I like pictures with not much in them, not too many distractions,” the Melbourne-based photographer said via email.

Phillips came across the salt mine by chance but immediately saw an opportunity for a series. “I'd been looking for appropriate industrial locations to do a landscape series of pictures and had been finding it difficult to get access to certain places. I was driving through the desert, and after exploring for a while, I came across this place,” she said.      

14

Emma Phillips

2

Emma Phillips

5

Emma Phillips

10

Emma Phillips

Phillips’ photographic process was as simple as her subject matter. “I walked through the gates and started taking pictures. I didn't ask anyone. The whole project was shot in about an hour. The mine itself is actually quite small. There's not much sense of scale in the photographs and that's the way I tried to shoot it,” she said.

Advertisement

The images are all clean whites and pale blues except for the occasional man-made object. “The arc of a conveyor belt juts obliquely from towering apex of salt; a caravan, itself blasted white, sits oxidizing in the midst of a vast, sun-beaten, white plane; an orange digger chugs across an otherwise colorless frame. Phillips has used salt as an allegory – reduced and economized – for the Australian interior,” reads a description for Phillips’ self-published book, Salt, which is available from Perimeter Books.

8

Emma Phillips

6

Emma Phillips

12

Emma Phillips

1

Emma Phillips

3

Emma Phillips

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore, and Schools Are Getting Worried

The Good Wife Is Cynical, Thrilling, and Grown-Up. It’s Also TV’s Best Drama.

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
  Life
Quora
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 20 2014 3:21 PM “The More You Know (About Black People)” Uses Very Funny PSAs to Condemn Black Stereotypes
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 20 2014 7:00 AM The Shaggy Sun
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.