What lies beneath V

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Year: 2018
Dimensions: 42cm x 64cm x 4cm


This photograph forms part of the series “What lies beneath”.  South America is known to be the region of the world’s largest amount of Lithium. The “Lithium Triangle” is a geographical triangle in the Andean southwest corner, between Argentina, Bolivia and Chile.

Around 58% of the world’s lithium resources can be found underneath expansive salt flats.  Although Lithium is crucial in the transition to clean energy, it’s extraction presents several environmental issues that are slowly affecting the area. The 18 month procedure could eventually induce a water sustainability crisis: 1 ton of lithium requires 500,000 gallons of water. These reserves have become a threat for the decline in ground water levels and local farming.

The series aims to show “what lies above” the lithium resources: salt flats that will eventually be mined for the extraction of the mineral. Furthermore, to grow awareness that the lithium industry should find a balance in the mineral’s extraction. The world is aware of the fact that we have to transition to clean energy sooner than later. But we still have to understand that resources are limited. Lithium extraction should be approached in an environmentally responsible and conscious way.

In this particular image, taken in Chile’s Salar de Atacama in the Atacama Desert, remaining water supplies are in are being affected by potential chemical contamination used in lithium’s extraction and shortage for agricultural activities.

The aerial perspective takes the viewer into a visual voyage of wonder. To speculate on the image’s scale and without any prior information, question the “what” of the image. 

Medium: Aerial photography - Giclée Hahnemüle print w/option of frame with anti-reflective art glass

No. of Editions available: 1/25

Country of Origin: Chile

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