These Bleak Pictures Show The Overwhelming Uniformity Of Modern Agriculture

We tend to have quaint notions of what nature looks like. If asked to picture it in our heads, many of us will start thinking of green fields and flowers, and trees and waterfalls perhaps. The reality is very different. Outside of some protected places, there’s really just a lot of agriculture, much of it stretching for miles and looking quite similar.

Henrik Spohler wanted to capture this for his new book of photographs, The Third Day. “I was searching for a realistic view of the agricultural surface. What I like to discuss is that nature is no longer a romantic place. The landscape basically is a modern factory site,” he says.

Spohler, who lives in Hamburg, visited some of most intensive agricultural regions in the world, including the great valleys of California, the greenhouse archipelagos of Spain and the Netherlands–where much of Europe’s off-season produce comes from, and tree nurseries in Germany.

“When I spent two weeks going from Sacramento down to the Mexican border, it was like a monocultural desert with just a few species,” he says. “If you don’t stop for touristic things in California and you go straight for the agriculture, it’s like being on Mars. And it’s bloody boring, by the way.”

Some of Spohler’s pictures will be on show at an an exhibit in Brooklyn this month. Much of his work is about globalization and its hidden processes: He’s now preparing a new book about international logistics.BS