Jamey Stillings: Changing Perspectives, The Evolution of Ivanpah Solar

by Melody Hall

On my way to Vegas from Graduation in San Francisco, I drove past these huge fields of mirrors, all encompassing a single tower. It was 2013, I assumed they were solar power and pondered how they collected the energy. Even though they were out of place, or visibly noticeable in the barren Mojave, I never considered their affect on the landscape.

In Jamey Stillings’ ongoing documentation of the Ivanpah Solar project, his perspective has changed the way I think about renewable energy. Stillings raises the question, how is our need for energy changing the landscape once again. Previously with large oil refineries, but now we are seeing more and more solar panels, mirrors, wind farms and even ocean current are a source of energy. 

The images are aerial and give a wider scope of the project. From the beginning survey of the land to the farm in production, each image tells a story with lines, textures, shapes and light. I find the images to be meditative, as I think about how much land was transformed, what will it look like in 80 years, 100. 

Our beautiful, pristine landscapes are being taken over by renewable resources. Is it a bad thing? I think there has to be some give and take. It’s better than an oil pipeline through native lands. It’s contained and well maintained. It’s an attraction in itself. We may lose a few hundred acres of desert, but we gain the sense of a better, cleaner future.

The Collective Quarterly #6 Mojave p 98
New York Times