Located at 8,000 feet in the Oquirrh Mountains — 20 miles southwest of Salt Lake City —the Bingham Canyon copper mine is the largest man-made excavation on the planet. Its hole reaches more than half a mile deep and its rim is nearly three miles in width. It has produced more copper than any mine in history. The mine’s Garfield smelter stack, situated at the edge of the Great Salt Lake about 10 miles away, is the tallest free-standing structure west of the Mississippi River, and is only 35 feet shorter than the Empire State Building.
For the last fifteen years, Light has aerially photographed over settled and unsettled areas of American space, pursuing themes of mapping, vertigo, human impact on the land, and various aspects of geologic time and the sublime. A private pilot, he is currently working on an extended aerial photographic survey of the inter-mountain states, Some Dry Space: An Inhabited West. Light won a 2007 Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship in Photography to pursue this project.
For the last several years, Light has been producing mammoth-scaled, very limited edition book-objects from his series of aerial photographs. These books have been widely exhibited to critical acclaim, and the series now extends to roughly eight such realizations, including books on Los Angeles (Day and Night), Phoenix, Sun City, Rancho San Pedro, and Mono Lake. Bingham Mine/Garfield Stack, which is an amazing series of black-and-white images taken of the Bingham Mine and Garfield Stack over the course of a single afternoon, is the first in a series from Radius Books that will translate Light’s impressive and ambitious projects into the trade book format.
About the Artist
Born in 1963, Light received a B.A. in American Studies from Amherst College in 1986 and an M.F.A. in Photography from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1993. An artist broadly concerned with how humans relate to their larger surroundings, he published his first book Ranch with Twin Palms/Twelvetrees Press in 1993.
Another strain of Light’s practice has been to rework familiar historical photographic and cultural icoons into landscape-driven perspectives, often with an aerial component, by sifting through public photographic archives. His first such project, Full Moon, published in 1999, used lunar geological survey imagery made by the Apollo astronauts to show the moon both as a sublime desert and an embattled point of first human contact. His last archival project, 100 Suns, published in 2003, focused on the politics and landscape meanings of military photographs of U.S. atmospheric nuclear detonations in Nevada and the Pacific from 1945 to 1962. Light’s books have been published in 19 different editions worldwide.
Light is represented by Hosfelt Gallery, San Francisco, Craig Krull Gallery, Santa Monica and Frehrking + Wiesehofer Gallery, Cologne.