Jamey Stillings: The Evolution of Ivanpah Solar
Jamey Stillings and Robert Redford
In this book Jamey Stillings synthesizes his environmental interests with a long-held fascination for the intersections of nature and human activity. In October 2010, before construction commenced, Stillings began a three-and-a-halfyear aerial exploration over what has become the world’s largest concentrated solar power plant, the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in the Mojave Desert of California. From the stark terrain of the pre-construction landscape to the angular forms of the completed solar plant with the capacity to produce 392 megawatts of electricity on 14 square kilometers of public land, Stillings explores transformative interactions between raw natural forms and the project’s precise geometric lines. Photographing from a helicopter during first and last light, Stillings’s images incorporate tight abstractions, oblique views of geologic forms, and broad open views of the dramatic desert basin. Renewable energy projects like Ivanpah ironically question our perceptions of land and resource use, and Stillings has observed contradictions within the environmental movement, local communities, the energy industry and general public. Though Ivanpah was built in the American Southwest, the promise and challenge of renewable energy also raise global issues. (Stillings’s larger project, “Changing Perspectives,” will explore the global state of renewable energy development.) Along our uncertain path toward a sustainable future, The Evolution of Ivanpah Solar both forms part of the contemporary discussion on climate change and imparts an historical perspective.