Nothing quite reminds us of how small and insignificant we really are than viewing immense landscapes from high up above. Most recently it’s been Jamey Stillings’s photographs of the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System (ISEGS).
With key investment from Google totaling $168million and located in the Southern Californian Mojave Desert, ISEGS will one day be the largest solar thermal power plant in the world. It currently trails in second place behind the 600,000 parabolic mirrors in Andalusia, Spain.
Stillings has been documenting the construction and scale of ISEGS since 2010 and has experienced first hand the philosophical and moral challenges and arguments around something designed to protect the environment. The construction is in the middle of a threatened tortoise habitat which meant that over fifty-million dollars worth of investment was spent on caring for and relocating the animals.
“What I’ve discovered along the way is the issue of building renewable energy is a lot more complicated than one what might assume from afar,” he tells Wired.com.
It's not the first large-scale project Stillings has photographed and followed the progress of. Between 2009 and 2011 he photographed the final stages of the bridge at the Hoover Dam – another technological feat.
“Photographically, the bridge as a subject was creatively and technically challenging, dynamic and transitory,” Stillings says. (The photos) allowed me to meld photographic and aesthetic sensibilities with a reawakened sense of childhood curiosity and awe." See more of Stillings’ photographs on Wired.com and if you're interested in the challenges thrown up by creating sustainable architecture and design, check out our book Vitamin Green in the store now.
Sign up to receive Phaidon stories via email