In January and February 1991, as the United States–led coalition drove Iraqi forces out of Kuwait, Saddam Hussein’s troops retaliated with an inferno. At some 700 oil wells and an unspecified number of oil-filled low-lying areas they ignited vast, raging fires, creating one of the worst environmental disasters in living memory.
Salgado’s epic pictures first appeared in the New York Times Magazine in June 1991 and were subsequently awarded the Oskar Barnack Award, recognizing outstanding images on the relationship between man and the environment. Kuwait: A Desert on Fire is the first monograph of this astonishing series. Like Genesis, Exodus, and The Children, it is as much a major document of modern history as an extraordinary body of photographic work.