These Unreal Photos of the Great Salt Lake Are Nucking Futs

When presented with an unconventional view of the natural world, photographer Jim Mangan believes we begin to imagine life in other shoes, and by doing so, create alternate worldviews for ourselves. Mangan just released a new photography book, Time of Nothing, and filled it with abstract landscapes that he hopes will convey this idea metaphorically. In 2011 and 2012, the photographer explored the entire Great Salt Lake from a single engine Cessna airplane. During his flyovers, Mangan shot the sweeping valleys and pigmented bodies of water below. Each frame flattens the landscape, putting emphasis on the colors of nature that have persisted amidst man’s increasing natural footprint. “I not only wanted to put emphasis on the visual layers within this environment, but inspire the viewer to dig deeper into what creates its colorful and compelling aesthetic,” Mangan tells Creators. “The further you dig the darker it becomes.”

Over the course of our email correspondence, Mangan described how many of the bodies of water seen in his book are “solar ponds” that have been created within the Great Salt Lake area in order to isolate magnesium chloride salts. The magnesium in these salts is extracted through a process called electrolysis which involves using a direct electrical current to create an otherwise non-spontaneous chemical reaction. According to Mangan, the facility and waste disposal practices that come with this work end up contaminating soil, air, surface water and groundwater with hazardous chemicals.

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In addition to alloying aluminum, the magnesium gathered in this process is used for auto parts, steel production, pharmaceuticals, fireworks, aircraft avoidance, and more. “On one hand, the result of this mineral leads to employment for hundreds of thousands of people who need work and need to support not only themselves, but their families. At the same time, all of this industry and mass consumption put great environmental stresses on our planet. It’s a double-edged sword and something that isn’t being addressed within our wasteful and greed fueled capitalist system.” Coincidentally, Mangan’s book release coincides with news of Trump’s budget proposal, which suggests major cuts to federal agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency.

Time of Nothing was published by Silent Sound Books and is available for purchase, here. Check out more work by photographer Jim Mangan on his website.


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