Microscopic Landscapes: D-Day After 70 Years

Donald Weber, "Omaha Beach Shrapnel #188, Sector Dog, White" (detail) from the series War Sand, 2013. Photo via Circuit Gallery.

Donald Weber, “Omaha Beach Shrapnel #188, Sector Dog, White” (detail) from the series War Sand, 2013. Photo via Circuit Gallery.

In honor of the 70th anniversary of D-Day, we post these photographs by architect-turned-prize-winning-photographer Donald Weber, part of his series-in-progress War Sand.

Last year, Weber visited the beaches at Normandy and collected sand samples. He then enlisted the help of physics professor Kevin Robbie to determine that they contained steel remnants and were indeed seventy-year-old tiny bits of shrapnel from the unimaginable amount of artillery fired that day and in the following weeks. Using a scanning electron microscope and optical microscope, Weber and Robbie photographed the artifacts. They created a color code (blue for iron, yellow for silicon oxide and green for sodium chloride) for the resulting photographs using a palette that closely resembled the physical landscape of the Normandy beaches, reports CBC Radio Canada.

Said Robbie: “History never goes away. There’s always a trace here or a remnant there.”

Donald Weber, clockwise from top: Gold Beach, Sample #213, (Assorted Shrapnel, Seashell and Glass), Sector Jig, Red; Omaha Beach, Sample #144 (Assorted Shrapnel, Seashell and Glass), Sector Dog, White; Juno Beach, Sample #073 (Shrapnel Fragment), Sector Nan, Green; Juno Beach, Sample #016 (Assorted Shrapnel), Sector Nan, Green, all from 2013. Photo via Circuit Gallery.

Donald Weber, clockwise from top: Gold Beach, Sample #213, (Assorted Shrapnel, Seashell and Glass), Sector Jig, Red; Omaha Beach, Sample #144 (Assorted Shrapnel, Seashell and Glass), Sector Dog, White; Juno Beach, Sample #073 (Shrapnel Fragment), Sector Nan, Green; Juno Beach, Sample #016 (Assorted Shrapnel), Sector Nan, Green, all from 2013. Photo via Circuit Gallery.

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