David Maisel’s Astonishing Black Maps

American Landscape and the Apocalyptic Sublime is a must see series of aerial photographs for anyone who has only imagined the devastation that multinational corporations has wreaked on our planet. Here are some lurid, heartbreaking visuals you’ll never see on your news channel.

Black Maps is the first in-depth survey of the major aerial projects by David Maisel, whose images of radically altered terrain have transformed the practice of contemporary landscape photography. In more than 100 photos that span Maisel’s career, Black Maps presents a hallucinatory worldview encompassing both stark documentary and tragic metaphor, and exploring the relationship between nature and humanity today. Maisel’s images of environmentally impacted sites consider the aesthetics of open pit mines, clear-cut forests, rampant urbanization and sprawl, and zones of water reclamation. These surreal and disquieting photos take us towards the margins of the unknown and as the Los Angeles Times has stated, “argue for an expanded definition of beauty, one that bypasses glamour to encompass the damaged, the transmuted, the decomposed.”

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