Suspended Solids

August 24th, 2019

A chromatic record of the intimate relationship between the Mississippi River and its surrounding soils.

The color of river water as mirror of its changing surroundings is the focus of Sally Donovan’s River Traveler project, which will photograph the various suspended solids that have altered the color of the Mississippi River. The project will consider how this chromatic record can inform understanding of the causes of such changes.

Suspended solids reveal connections between rivers and their surrounding landscapes. These deposits comprise eroded soil and woody debris that flow from land to water, creating a matrix of particles that alter the color of bodies of water. The resulting hue reflects fragmented pieces from the surrounding landscape and the site-specific history and ecology of the river. This project aims to photograph suspended solids along the upper Mississippi to document how water color records changes in history and ecology across human landscapes.