Photography Technique

The art, vision and activism of photographer Will Wilson

The art, vision and activism of photographer Will Wilson

This story was originally published by Searchlight New Mexico.

At first, you don’t know what you’re looking at. A gray expanse of uneven geometry surrounded by undulating brown. Shift your perspective a bit and it might be a close-up of a distressed textile, with subtle hues and textures surfacing as your eyes adjust.

And then the horizon comes into focus. Now you know where you are. In the distance are the classic jutting buttes of Monument Valley, familiar to anyone who’s ever seen a John Ford Western.

The gray wasteland is the Mexican Hat Uranium Disposal Cell, a former uranium processing mill in southeastern Utah, on the Navajo Nation, which is pockmarked by hundreds of abandoned mines. Diné artist Will Wilson, 53, who spent part of his childhood on the Nation, shot the dizzying photograph by drone for his series “Connecting the Dots.” He was so focused on the remediation site that he didn’t realize everything he’d captured. “When I looked at the first photos, I saw the famous buttes, but they were cut off, and at an angle,” he says. “I had to go back so I could compose the shot.”

Related Articles

Back to top button