Lake Natron in Tanzania is known for turning animals into stone. The water in the lake has an extremely high pH level (10.5), enough to burn the skin upon contact and gradually turn the animals into solid state. Birds and other animals that come in contact with the lake’s waters – often by mistake – die and get mummified into stones.
Photographer Nick Brandt observed this phenomena firsthand. He found these creatures around the lake, placed them in ‘living’ positions and photographed them.
In Nick’s words,
I unexpectedly found the creatures – all manner of birds and bats – washed up along the shoreline of Lake Natron in Northern Tanzania. No-one knows for certain exactly how they die, but it appears that the extreme reflective nature of the lake’s surface confuses them, and like birds crashing into plate glass windows, they crash into the lake. The water has an extremely high soda and salt content, so high that it would strip the ink off my Kodak film boxes within a few seconds. The soda and salt causes the creatures to calcify, perfectly preserved, as they dry.
I took these creatures as I found them on the shoreline, and then placed them in ‘living’ positions, bringing them back to ‘life’, as it were. Reanimated, alive again in death.