David Maisel | Surveillance #982-7.

David Maisel

At first glance, David Maisel's gorgeous photographs seem to celebrate the natural beauty of an otherworldly landscape. With bold blues and expressive reds, the images appear to capture unchartered river formations and mystical mountain passes that couldn't possibly belong to Earth.

But Maisel's photographs are not celebrating the natural beauty of another planet. His various series illuminate the strangely magnificent aerial appearance of environmentally impacted sites in the United States. He focuses on lands that have been transformed by water reclamation, logging, military tests and mining, producing overwhelmingly stunning artworks that ultimately depict spoiled, desecrated beauty.

Maisel began his aerial project in the mid-1980s, capturing snapshots of the country's changing environmental landscape by turning an eye to open pit mines. He has continued the project for three decades, documenting the relationship between sprawling humanity and the natural lands that it envelops in series like "The Mining Project."

The resulting images reflect an aesthetic not endemic to photography; rather his sharp geometric contrasts and decadent hues are reminiscent of abstract painting. Staring into the saturated photos, there's a startling sense of ambiguity that only heightens the tense entangling of ordered beauty and man-made destruction.

- Huffington Post ©