An Open Love Letter To Salt

March 16, 2012

By Amy Zurcher

I remember you best and most frequently appearing at the table. My mother handled you heartily and often; you filled her trusty shaker and she made quick work of sprinkling you on her food as if it were a parched garden in need of a hosed down, all-out soaking. This is to say nothing of your starring role in one of the main loves in my life: the ocean, the beach. Something I surrender an enormous part of myself to—to the wonder you create when I first step and finally submerge each limb of my body into your vast, deep body of water. What magical power you have that makes me feel buoyant! So thoroughly detoxed and caressed as you work out the poisons and stresses built up inside me. Oh, the inexplicable contentment you so gently fold around my body. You have always been a tried and true friend. Even in high school, back when I had plenty of time for intense homemade beauty regimes, I would use you liberally paired with some scented oil to scrub every teenage imperfection until my skin was smooth as a baby’s bottom.

But you were never just a tasty addition or a vanity thing, rest assured, salt, you shaped me as a person. I was told early on to be the “salt of the world” and instructed in these wonderful humble ways by “salt of the earth” people. And what did that mean? To become and exemplify your qualities: develop flavor where once there was none; preserve, clean, detox and fortify everything I can; reveal unexpected flavors ordinarily hidden beneath the surface. Aren’t you an art form all your own, bringing out things that linger in the taste buds or subconscious? Drawing them to the surface where they are clear and impossible to ignore?

Oh, salt! How you are representative of the honest, raw, down-home old-fashioned traits I admire so! And when I think of things I admire, Tobia Makover’s photography, so suggestive of salt, comes to mind. This first work titled “Sandstorm” intrigues me with the hidden identity of the subject and the sense of being caught-in-the-moment. Tobia describes this work and what makes it so magnetic for the viewer best as “Sands of time, an hourglass, sand pours over any kind of identity of the person, a timelapse. Image is a memory..a child playing in the sand. The sand obscuring identity. I almost want to take the image and flip it over and see if the sand will run back. Almost everything I shoot is shot in a second, which is a very slow speed for the camera. I have always been preoccupied with time, particularly about the past. I am trying to hold onto something that keeps slipping through my fingertips…like that of the sand.”

Just one look at these photos and an unexpected newness of flavor coats my perspective; a cleansing of anything daunting or heavy I may be carrying around inside of me; detoxification washes over me as though I am being preserved for something yet to emerge.