“An exhaustive look at the ways in which a multinational agrochemical and agricultural biotechnology corporation impacts on the lives and environments of hundreds of communities across America.”
Featured in The Guardian’s Best Photography Books of 2017.
Mathieu Asselin’s MONSANTO: A PHOTOGRAPHIC INVESTIGATION is the result of a five-year long project that traces the extended destructive history of the agroindustrial and self-nominative chemicals manufacturing company, Monsanto.
The most excruciating section of the book is the section that deals with the use of Agent Orange, a highly dangerous defoliant manufactured by Monsanto and sprayed over Vietnam by the U.S. from 1962 to 1971. The intention of spraying this was to destroy the thick jungle cover that the country offered, thereby starving the people by decimating their ability to grow food.
Entwined amidst the portraits of residents who’ve lodged around in Anniston, eminently petitioning Monsanto for compensation, are the photographs of the abandoned, crumbling houses and the demolished ruins left behind by the people who have either died or fled the area. A newspaper clipping of the late 1970s from a different section of the book displays the immense efforts put up during the evacuation of the small town of Sturgeon.
Mixing the perseverance of a probing reporter with the devotion of an activist, Asselin focuses on the various fails encountered by Monsanto and releases every ounce of evidence he can assemble against the various targets.
There is no acknowledging of complexity, mincing of words or balancing of two sides. This entire book feels like a fiery grandiloquent speech through photographs. After the display of images that show the of raw horror caused by Agent Orange, the book ends with a long section of repressed still lives.