Stephen & Elizabeth Ferry: La Batea
A brother-and-sister team, Stephen and Elizabeth Ferry have produced La Batea, exploring gold’s double effects – situations of violence, contamination, and exploitation, but also of devotion, craftsmanship, and anchored communities. By taking this rounded approach, La Batea aims to contribute to the global debate over the social, political and environmental impacts of gold mining.
The title La Batea comes from the Spanish word for the wooden pan used by artisanal miners to separate gold from the surrounding earth and rock. The technique of working with a batea entails close engagement with the material of gold itself, something we aim to replicate in our photographs, writings, and in the book’s design.
The graininess of Stephen’s film, along with the material and construction of the book, work to create a marked sense of texture. A spot of real gold leaf on the cover further materializes the subject matter. With this emphasis on tactile experience, La Batea bends the traditional genres of documentary photography and anthropological writing.