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By the water: Photographing the mysterious power of the Dead Sea

From the series Salt © Kasper Palsnov

Kasper Palsnov's series Salt investigates a region with a history stretching back millennia that is now under threat

There’s something Biblical about the Dead Sea. Quite literally – passages and passages of scripture references and prophesies about the salty lake in which no living thing can flourish or grow. The Greeks and Romans noted the mysterious power of the water, which, bordered by Israel, Palestine and Jordan, has played host to history throughout the centuries.

Today, stories of myths and legends have quieted to whispers, and its expensive, mineral-rich mud is sold to tourists eager to procure some semblance of the lake’s reviving properties. But in recent years the Dead Sea has come under threat, thanks to declining sea levels and the recent appearance of sinkholes.

The Dead Sea’s siren-like call attracted Danish photographer Kasper Palsnov, whose series Salt depicts the reality of a region between states; history and modernity, fertile and barren. His interest in the region came from a study trip to Israel and Palestine in 2013, travelling with interns at the Danish daily newspaper Berlingske.

“From the first second we arrived I was fascinated by the place. It was a place of beauty and decay at the same time. I couldn’t stop shooting: people, details. The next day I went by myself again just to shoot. I had no idea what I was shooting. When I came back from the trip the pictures that I connected to the most of all the pictures from the trip were the ones from these two half days of shooting. It felt like the pictures were about way more than just the place.”

Palsnov is a student at the Danish School of Media and Journalism, a school that seems to be an assembly line producing talented photojournalists whose alumni include Laerke Posselt and Mads Nissen. He’s a strong advocate for the school’s personal way of teaching:

“It is a great place to study – you have a intimate, small study environment where everybody knows everybody and where everybody helps and wants the best for each other. The 18 month internship at a daily with tight deadlines and thousands of pictures shot every week combined with the slow, personal and long-term projects at the school is a perfect mix.

“Their way of developing ideas with an interest for the society you live in combined with a personal style and approach is a thing that will always be in me from my time there.”

From the series Salt © Kasper Palsnov

From the series Salt © Kasper Palsnov

 

From the series Salt © Kasper Palsnov

From the series Salt © Kasper Palsnov

 

From the series Salt © Kasper Palsnov

From the series Salt © Kasper Palsnov

 

From the series Salt © Kasper Palsnov

From the series Salt © Kasper Palsnov

 

From the series Salt © Kasper Palsnov

From the series Salt © Kasper Palsnov

 

From the series Salt © Kasper Palsnov

From the series Salt © Kasper Palsnov

 

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From the series Salt © Kasper Palsnov

 

From the series Salt © Kasper Palsnov

From the series Salt © Kasper Palsnov

 

Kasper was a runner-up in the Undergraduate series category at BJP Breakthrough 2016, our annual summer season celebrating student photography. All Breakthrough runners-up receive WeTransfer Plus accounts, complete with long term storage, increased upload sizes and password protected transfers. Find more of his work here.

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