Owens Lake in California was once a 200 square-mile lake in a fertile valley. Drained for the water needs of Southern California in 1913, when the Owens River was diverted into the Owens Valley Aqueduct, now it is transformed into an arid landscape.
“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.”
From an eye bird view, however, it looks quite fascinating. David Maisel captured abstract scenes of color and texture bearing a resemblance “to river of blood, a microchip, a bisected vein, or a galaxy’s map – a strange beauty born of environmental degradation”, as he described it.
The project was mainly made 2001-2002 and is available as a photo book.