Will the landmines that were sprinkled across vast swaths of the globe during brutal twentieth-century wars ironically end up saving nature? In Bosnia, “nowhere [in the countryside] is safe” from mines — meaning that animals and plants can flourish where people fear to tread. BLDG BLOG has a gallery of gorgeous mine-infested landscapes and the horrifying devices buried beneath the surfaces:
The Minescape project by Los Angeles-based photographer Brett Van Ort looks at the ironic effects of landmines on the preservation of natural landscapes, placing woods, meadows, and even remote country roads off-limits, fatally tainted terrains given back to animals and vegetation.
“Left over munitions and landmines from the wars in the early 1990s still litter the countryside in Bosnia,” Van Ort explains. Many deminers in the field believe roughly 10% of the country can still be deemed a landmine area. They also feel that nowhere in the countryside is safe, as they may clear one area but a torrential downpour may unearth landmines upstream or upriver. While visiting the landscapes himself, Van Ort adds, “some people told me not to walk into nature at all.”
The photographs seen here juxtapose shots of natural landscapes considered safe—that is, free of landmines—with portraits of the mines once buried there
The project closes with a particularly dark observation: “I see the idea of hand-placed landmines protecting the natural setting and allowing the environment to regenerate itself as an ironic twist on our inability to conserve and see into the future.”