Desert Meditations -

On a recent documentary trip in Africa, I carved out some time to spend a few days in the Namib desert in southern Namibia. The Namib, meaning "vast place" in the Nama language, is just that. It covers 81,000 square kilometers, and includes iconic yet obscure regions such as the Skeleton Coast, abandoned diamond mining town, Kolmanskop, Sossusvlei, and Deadvlei. Deadvlei, or "dead marsh," is a clay pan with a stand of camel torn trees which have been dead for approximately 700 years. The pan is hugged by some of the world's tallest sand dunes.

There is a stark and magnificent beauty to this land, a beauty which has been calling me to travel to Namibia for years. I have always been drawn to the relationship between opposites, and this was no exception: despite its forbidding terrain, the Namib embodies a subtle harmony between its elements which I felt compelled to explore with my camera.

Arriving at this location was a surrealist's dream-come-true. Walking through this space makes one feel as though they have awakened into a dream painted by Salvador Dali. The vulnerability one feels when exploring the vast sand dune-sea is completely awe-inspiring. The sand dunes' sheer scale immediately dwarfs those who enter its space, making us feel humbled in their presence. The abandoned structures littered along the Skeleton Coast have been swallowed by the surrounding sands and now appear as part of the Namib's natural terrain.

This series is a meditation on perception as experienced in the Namib desert of southern Africa. These images show that ideas which are commonly viewed as frightening - death, decay, infinity - can simultaneously serve as harmonious and entrancing chords in the same tune. The series thus pays homage to the sublime beauty which can be found in a vast land of seeming decay.

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