Distilling stories from crude oil

02 March 2018

SIG: Contemporary

British photographer Chloe Dewe Mathews spent several months hitchhiking and camping around the shores of the Caspian Sea. In 2011 she won the British Journal of Photography's international photography award for her series, Caspian, which focuses on the city of Naftalan in Azerbaijan, its curious trade in petroleum-based therapeutic treatments, the impact of the oil on the landscape and observations of workers building mausoleums for those families made rich from the oil. 

The images blend everyday observation and reportage, with a subtle use of muted colour and tone.  The Caspian project has developed significantly since 2011 and will be published by Aperture in 2018 with the support from The Robert Gardner Fellowship in Photography at The Peabody Museum, Harvard University.

Check out more of Chloe’s work at http://www.chloedewemathews.com/

Come along to the Contemporary SIG’s day with Bill Jackson and Chloe Dewe Mathews and find out more about this modern-day adventurer and her work.  The event is at Regent’s University London on 12th May.

Images (c) Chloe Dewe Mathews


Main image: Ordinary lives ... two sisters run down to the underground mosque in Beket-Ata, Kazakhstan.


Below: Albina Visilova, a patient at the Naftalan Sanitorium, Azerbaijan, bathes in  ‘the miracle oil’ of Naftalan.