In his body of work entitled "The Lake Project," photographer David Maisel presents otherworldy aerial images from Owens Lake, the water sources of which have been diverted to the city of Los Angeles since 1913. For decades, fierce winds have dislodged microscopic particles from the lakebed, creating carcinogenic dust storms. Indeed, the site has become the highest source of particulate matter pollution in the United States, emitting 300,000 tons annually of cadmium, chromium, arsenic and other materials. The concentration of minerals in the remaining water yields blooms of microscopic bacteria, turning the liquid a deep, bloody red. The images serve, in a sense, as a sublime eulogy for the lake whose strange beauty was born of environmental degradation.


  • Title: Lake Project 74
  • Creator: David Maisel
  • Date Created: 2015
  • Physical Dimensions: 48" x 48"
  • Rights: © 2015, courtesy of the artist and Edwynn Houk Gallery (New York) and Haines Gallery (San Francisco)
  • Medium: Archival pigment print

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