David Maisel's large-scale aerial photos of open pit mines, clear-cut forests, and water reclamation zones document the complex relationship between human beings and nature.
Rich in detail, ambiguous in meaning, Maisel's work has much in common with Edward Burtynsky, who also uses large, detailed photographs to chronicle industrial transformation of the environment.
A preferred subject of both photographers is the open pit mine, a contradictory image of human dependence on nature and our destruction of it. Confronted with a large-scale overhead photo of an open pit mine, the viewer is
filled with uneasy contradictions.
It is contrast that makes Maisel's broody, eerie images so interesting. As Leah Ollman states in the Los Angeles Times, “Maisel’s work over the past two decades has argued for an expanded definition of beauty, one that bypasses glamour to encompass the damaged, the transmuted, the decomposed.”
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All images copyright David Maisel.