Mining has always been a balance of give and take. On the one hand, precious materials useful for humans are extracted from the ground, and on the other, gigantic scars are left on the landscape. In his latest series, For What It’s Worth, photographer Dillon Marsh (who we’ve covered before) visualizes the quantity of copper and diamonds unearthed at mines around his home of South Africa. Using computer generated spheres to represent the material, he’s given us a strikingly clear picture of sacrifice and gain.
“The CGI objects represent a scale model of the materials removed from each mine,” explains Marsh, “a solid mass occupying a scene showing the ground from which it was extracted. By doing so, 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.”
Above: Jubilee Mine, Concordia (Over 300 feet deep, 7,100 tons of copper extracted)
Marsh’s series explores an industry established in the country since the middle of the 19th century. First with the discovery of copper deposits and the opening of the Blue Mine in 1852, and (with the discovery of the Eureka diamond in 1867) an expansion into the often controversial diamond industry.
Marsh’s images of diamond mines are perhaps the most affecting, and reveal a massive amount of earth being removed for a surprisingly small amount of highly precious stone (so small, he has to crop the image to make it visible).
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