elizabeth ferry


La Batea [with Stephen Ferry]


1st place, Pictures of the Year, Latin American, best photography book, 2019

1st place, Victor Turner Prize in Ethnographic Writing, Society for Humanistic Anthropology, 2019   

marmato lanzamiento

Fruit of a six-year collaboration with my brother, photographer Stephen Ferry, La Batea looks closely at small-scale gold mining in Colombia. The title refers to the wooden pan used in traditional mining since Pre-Columbian times.
        La Batea documents the struggles of gold mining communities in Colombia to defend their way of life against armed criminal organizations and multinational corporations seeking their gold. Colombia reflects the situation of local communities worldwide who face violent repression for opposing large-scale mining projects in their territories. While exploring the complex social terrain around gold mining, La Batea engages with the charismatic nature of both gold and mercury.
          Carefully integrating images, text and design, La Batea engages the reader through touch as well as sight. The cardboard cover is stamped with a circle of 22 karat gold leaf of the kind used by restorers of religious paintings in Colombia. By combining anthropology, photography and the craft of bookmaking, the Ferry siblings have created an experience/object that is at once highly informative and vividly poetic.

The book is now available in Spanish at Editorial Ícono and in English at Red Hook Editions.

“The Human Cost of Colombian Gold,” David Gonzalez, New York Times Lens Blog, April 26, 2016

“Mining and the Defense of Afro-Colombian Territory: The Community of Yolombó, Colombia,” ReVista, Harvard Review of Latin America, winter 2018

“Gold and Bateas” Latin American and Latinx Visual Cultures

Stephen Ferry / Nonfiction Photography

La Batea launch, Marmato, Caldas/Encuentro Anual de Marmatólogos, July 31, 2018

reading of “A Workshop in Mompox”

New Books Network podcast episode on La Batea.

 Review of La Batea by Les Field in Anthropology and Humanism