Color image of molten material being dumped down a hillside from a train

Untitled (44UN-7981-177), Northern Rhodesia (Zambia), 1958

Todd Webb

Archival pigment print

Courtesy of the Todd Webb Archive L2020.85.78

Not on View

At the copper mines near Ndola, Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia), molten slag—material waste made through a smelting process to extract copper from ore—cascades in a vermillion ribbon down an ash-covered hill, so hot and viscous it seems barely to touch the ground. Here, Webb turns his camera upward, exalting industrial progress. His handling of this subject suggests an attraction to its aesthetic potential; nevertheless, in creating a beautiful image, he obscures the colonial exploitation and environmental impact of this extractive enterprise.

Image: In Copyright. Courtesy of the Todd Webb Archive

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