Keeping on my spectacle kick, there is some amazing photography out there of the process known as shipbreaking, where huge tankers and container ships are dismantled piece by piece, and somewhat left to rot, on giant sand tidal beds in developing nations. Bangledesh has the most famous shipbreaking yards, where men, women, and children spend about two months to reduce an entire cargo ship to small pieces of scrap, that are then recycled and sold in various other industries. The images are absolutely haunting and incredibly beautiful. Although Edward Burtynsky is probably the most famous photographer of this giant-scale process, although I think anyone would be hardpressed to take a bad photograph of such a dramatic scene. In fact, I rather prefer these images, which are perhaps more straight forward, but make it a bit easier to make out what is going on.
The ships are majestic and tragic, as they tower over the sand and the people, and are slowly picked away to nothing by both. I’m so impressed by their presence and stature that it is difficult to see them as relics resigned to the trash heap. I’m not sure what constitutes obsolesence in shipping, although I think it continues to have something to do with size. Now ships are being made that are too large to fit through the Panama canal (one of my TOP travel fantasy destinations, by the way), and they just power these beasts down around the horn.