Liquid silver

A mythological shadow covers the photographic report by W. Eugene Smith in the Japanese village of Minamata. The contrast of black and white with which they have been revealed is added

to the dramatism reflected in the photos.

We may think that W. Eugene Smith has been pulling the thread from the fable to better understand the crudeness of a reality that brings us back to the primal state of photography, when in 1835 - by chance - Louis Daguerre discovered the usefulness of mercury vapors for the revealed.

Because myths became acceptable to science long before the invention of photography. Perhaps from the moment they named the planets as gods and also the chemical elements. As an example is the one that brings us here today: Mercury, name of the Roman mythological god that serves so much to identify a planet as a chemical element, as well as a botanical species (the Mercurial). In this way, the planet of our solar system closest to the sun shares the name of the Roman god of commerce with other scientific possibilities,

Although, at first, in the time of Ancient Greece, the same planet - Apollo and Hermes - was named in two ways - Apollo and Hermes - thinking that these were different planets, with the time and wisdom of Pythagoras the error was discovered and left the name Hermes to baptize the rocky and fast planet. It should be noted that Hermes was an Olympic god, able to cross borders with his herd sandals and provided with an eloquence always ready to trick.

Hermes, converted to Mercury, reappears on the periodic table giving name to a liquid metal that has served to build thermometers and even the antelitante of water beds

When the Romans embraced Greek mythology, the divine trickster named Hermes would become Mercury, thus demonstrating that myths continue to reinvent themselves and generate variants under a different name. Thus, Hermes, turned mercury, reappears in the periodic table giving name to a liquid metal that has served to build thermometers and even the antecedent of water beds. Yes. For as noted in the Ension of Islam (edited by the orientalist M.Th Houtsma), a capricious ruler of Islamic Egypt - back in the ninth century - had the happy idea of building himself a kind of pool that filled with mercury. On the surface he spread air-filled cushions that served him to cradle,

It is worth adding a curious fact to the name of the metal and its formulation in the periodic table by expressing itself with the initials Hg, which have its origin in Greek etymology. Pedanio Dioscorides (c.40-c.90) pharmacologist who practiced medicine in Rome and whose voluminous treatise De Materia Medica, written in Greek, is considered as foundational work in pharmacopoeia, described mercury as aquatic silver (Greek hydrárgyros). hydra-water, gyros-silver.

Mercury is identified with irreversible poisoning or Minamata disease, named for being in a fishing village of Kumamoto, Japan, where the outbreak arose, in 1956

All, Mercury or Hermes has a toxic aspect, a shadow that all myth projects and that, during the Middle Ages, ceased to be abstraction to be realized in a liquid metal whose investment, handled in the alchemical way, made it one of the starting points of the magical process that turned the calderilla gold into gold. But of course, all this is a long way from our current scientific age, where mercury is identified with irreversible poisoning or Minamata disease, named for being in such a fishing village of Kumamoto, Japan, where the outbreak arose, in 1956.

Statistics reportedly died after suffering the spasms that premethat the neurological breakdown of the organism. It was not until years later, in 1968, that the Japanese government revealed that the cause of the disease was nothing more than the intake of mercury-filled fish and shellfish; heavy metal that chisso chemical factory poured into the waters,

Early 1970s, photojournalist W. Eugene Smith traveled to the heart of the disaster. With his camera he denounced the toxicity of a metal of mythological name and that today pollutes our waters with its shadow of liquid silver,