On 4 October 2010 an industrial incident involving a collapsed dam at the Ajka alumina plant in Hungary meant that 1 million cubic metres of toxic red mud poured of a storage lake, causing the flooding and evacuation of nearby villages with residents having only a few minutes to escape. For over a year award-winning documentary photographer Péter Kollanyi shot images of the ghost villages and the abandoned houses covered in the red mud.
To mark the 5th year anniversary of the catastrophe, the Robert Capa Contemporary Photography Centre commissioned a limited edition book featuring this unique body of work. Together with Péter we created a book that extends the documentation of the original photographic series of this environmental disaster. Like everything in the effected villages, the book design replicates the dramatic deep red mud stains whilst creating an alternating rhythm to the flow of images reminiscent of the chaos and silence that occurred in the aftermath of the event.
The book was curated by István Virágvölgyi, deputy director for professional affairs at the Capa Centre and features a text specifically written for the publication by internationally acclaimed Hungarian writer, Péter Nádas exploring the intersection of the catastrophe’s verbal and visual aftermath.