Worth A Thousand Words

A Special Picture

Photographer Dillon Marsh talks about a special set of images about mines.

Whether they are active or long dormant, mines bear witness to a combination of sacrifice and gain. They appear as scars on the landscape—unlikely feats of hard labor and specialized engineering, constructed to extract value from the earth but also exacting a price.
This image combines photography and CGI technology in an effort to depict the copper output of the Palabora Mine, the largest open pit mine in South Africa. The computer-generated sphere represents a scale model of the 4.1 million tons of copper removed from the pit. This total may seem impressive, but appears diminutive relative to the size of the pit, which measures a staggering 1.9 kilometers in diam-
eter. The intention is to create a kind of visual representation of the benefits and drawbacks of mining in South Africa, an industry that has shaped the history and economy of the country so radically.