South African photographer Dillon Marsh has long been drawn to themes that touch on environmentalism and our relationship with the world around us, and in recent years these interests have become more pronounced.
The Cape Town-based creative’s latest work goes even further in this exploratory direction. Dillon has taken photographs of five mines around the Namaqualand region and then added in a computer-generated visualisation of the amount of copper extracted there over its operational lifetime.
“Whether they are active or long dormant, mines speak of a combination of sacrifice and gain,” Dillon says. “Their features are crude, unsightly scars on the landscape – unlikely feats of hard labour and specialised engineering, constructed to extract value from the earth but also exacting a price.”
“The intention is to create a kind of visualisation of the merits and shortfalls of mining in South Africa, an industry that has shaped the history and economy of the country so radically.”
Dillon sees this set of photographs as the first in a series that will include other precious metals, gemstones and maybe even coal, raising social, cultural and economic questions about contemporary South Africa in a really engaging way.