New Dillon Marsh Project: Gold

WORDS Malibongwe Tyilo IMAGES Dillon Marsh

Cape Town-based photographer Dillon Marsh’s latest work continues to tackle the subject of mining in South Africa, through his combined use of photography and computer-generated elements.

“Whether they are active or long dormant, mines speak of a combination of sacrifice and gain,” explains Dillon. “Their features are crude, unsightly scars on the landscape – unlikely feats of hard labour and specialised engineering, constructed to extract value from the earth, but also exacting a price.”

By researching historical records to estimate the quantity of materials extracted from each mine, and taking into consideration the density of the material, Dillon then converts the amount mined to a volume. Using CGI technology, he then renders the minerals as spherical models done to scale, each representing the amount of gold, copper or diamonds mined from the area.

“The Witwatersrand Basin is a 300km long geological formation in South Africa that holds the world’s largest known gold reserves,” says Dillon. “Since its discovery in 1886, seven separate goldfields have been established along its arc. I’ve examined four of these goldfields so far and I’m currently working on the remaining three. Using CGI I’ve represented the total amount extracted from a goldfield in a single photograph.”

The result? Stunning photographs that not only suggest striking sculpture, but also, in showing the scars left behind makes us think twice about our obsession with mining the earth.

View more of Dillon’s work at