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This artist turns the world’s largest salt flat into a pastel dreamland

Berlin-based photographer Navina Khatib creates stunning photographs of Salar de Uyuni to convey the magic of its incredible, surreal landscape.

The salt flats of Uyuni in southwestern Bolivia are the largest in the world. Cradled between low mountains that are characters in the ancient creation stories, approximately 10,582 square kilometres of salt stretches to the horizon. The vast white landscape is a reminder of a long-lost sea, disrupted only occasionally by bizarre rocky islands of cacti or small mounds of harvest salt.

Khatib visited Uyuni in 2011, and was stunned by the place’s beauty and power.

“Everything there is just otherworldly – the smell of sulfur, the profound silence, the thin air, the magical bright colours,” Khatib told Atlas Obscura. “When you are in the middle of it, you can turn yourself 360 degrees and see nothing but the horizon.”

Navina Khatib

Upon returning home, Khatib discovered that, like many awe-inspiring landscapes around the world, Uyuni can lose its majesty when reduced to the flatness of a photograph. The images she returned with didn’t evoke the same feelings that the ancient landscape had given her.

“They didn’t bring me back to this place, they didn’t give me the feeling how it really was,” Khatib added.

Navina Khatib

So she began to experiment with different techniques, drawing from her childhood fascination with fantasy and fairytale.

“I was fascinated by kaleidoscopes, transparent papers, tinfoil and all kinds of lenses, even back then,” Khatib told Feature Shoot.

Navina Khatib

The results of her experiments are a stunning and ethereal version of Uyuni’s vast salt plains. Using multiple exposures that can take hours or months, she has infused the photographs with that otherworldly feeling that is so hard to capture with a lens.

Head on over to her Instagram account (which has perhaps the most beautiful feed we’ve ever seen) to see more of her work.

Navina Khatib

Navina Khatib

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