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Tide Lines

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In Tide Lines: A Photographic Record of Louisiana’s Disappearing Coast, Ben Depp’s photographs capture the beauty, complexity, and rapid destruction of south Louisiana. Once formed by sediment deposited by the Mississippi River, the Louisiana coast is now quickly eroding. Two thousand square miles of wetlands have returned to open water over the past eighty years.

Depp’s photographs communicate weather and seasonal changes—like the shifting high-water line, color temperature, and softness of light. A careful observer will notice coastal flora and distinguish living cypress trees from those that have been killed by saltwater intrusion, or see the patterns made by wave energy on barrier island beaches and sediment carried through freshwater diversions from the Mississippi River.

With a powered paraglider, Depp flies between ten and ten thousand feet above the ground. He spends hours in the air, camera in hand, waiting for the brief moments when the first rays of sunlight mix with cool predawn light and illuminate forms in the grass, or when evening light sculpts fragments of marsh and geometric patterns of human enterprise—canals, oil platforms, pipelines, and roads. Featuring an introduction by Monique Verdin and over fifty color images, Tide Lines is an intense bird's-eye survey that depicts south Louisiana from an unfamiliar perspective, prompting the viewer to reconsider the value of this vanishing, otherworldly landscape.