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50 States in 52 weeks: Nevada's solar power art

20 January 2016

How a new solar-power plant in the Mojave Desert became the unlikely subject of a photo series by American photographer Jamey Stillings

The construction of a solar-power plant — the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System — in the Mojave Desert, 40 miles southwest of Las Vegas, provided 
the unlikely subject for an exquisite, semi-abstract photo series by the American photographer Jamey Stillings.

The project was completed from 2010 to 2014, requiring 19 helicopter flights. ‘I realised the airspace over the Ivanpah project was public, a space where I could observe and photograph with few restrictions,’ says Stillings. ‘I decided to document Ivanpah’s evolution from above.’ 

His black-and-white images capture every detail of a fast-changing landscape. ‘I am drawn to first and last sunlight, as this oblique light best reveals the textures, changes, history, and secrets of the desert,’ says Stillings. He views Nevada’s solar-power plant, the construction of which created 2,000 ‘green’ jobs, as ‘symbolic of the promise and challenge we face in building a sustainable civilisation, both for ourselves and future generations’. 

The Evolution of Ivanpah Solar by Jamey Stillings (£62, Steidl) is out now