Photojournalist Ian Berry traveled the world for 15 years for stories related to human beings’ relationship with water, now gathered in a new book.
The British photographer was inspired to keep working on this topic after reporting on Greenland’s shrinking glaciers and ice melt, working alongside Danish climatologists. He then went on to investigate not only our complex relationship to water as the most basic resource for life, but also its role in spiritual practices and community building.
Khaliajuri, Kishoreganj, Bangladesh. A bird’s eye view of part of the village reduced to an island by the flood waters which last more than half the year. © Ian Berry / Magnum Photos
Wanxian, Sichuan, China. In an area about to be flooded in the next phase of the Three Gorges Dam project, a woman sleeps in a chair amid the detritus of her demolished house. © Ian Berry / Magnum Photos
Northern Transvaal, South Africa. Drought turns farming areas into dust bowls where nothing can grow well. The winds sweep the dust away, leaving bedrock and subsoil behind. © Ian Berry / Magnum Photos
“This year has shown above all others that the planet is struggling,” writes the photographer. “There is too much water in some places, too little in others. Ice is melting at an unprecedented pace and it’s so very easy to dismiss what is happening when we see it briefly on TV and then it’s gone. I am concerned that our ecosystem is less than robust and if just a few people think of ways in which we can support it, I feel I can rest and let my work tell its tale”.
Near Palmer, Alaska, United States. The Nelchina Glacier in the Chugach Mountains near Little Nelchina on the Glenn Highway. © Ian Berry / Magnum Photos
Near Prestatyn, Wales. In the misty distance of the Irish Sea lies the North Hoyle Wind Farm seen from a north Welsh coast, deserted save for a woman galloping her horse along the beach. © Ian Berry / Magnum Photos
Edfu, Aswan, Egypt. In the early morning the horses that pull the caleches (horse-drawn carriages specially for tourists) are treated to a wash and a cool down in the Nile. © Ian Berry / Magnum Photos
Varanasi (Benares), Uttar Pradesh, India. Dawn is the time when devout Hindus come down to the holy river Ganges to wash themselves as part of the religious ritual and pray. © Ian Berry / Magnum Photos