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Story: In her series, Land of Nothingness, Maroesjka Lavigne invites viewers to step into the unforgiving landscape of Namibia as she captures the subtle, desolate beauty of one of the least densely populated places in the world.

Captivated by these washed-out yet delicately coloured landscapes, the vast plains of brown, scorched earth, the golden tones of sand dunes and the white surface of the salt pans, Lavigne spent hours driving solo across Namibia capturing the subtle variations of the barren yet constantly changing desert.

Chaperoned by herds of giraffes or zebras, shadowed by flocks of flamingos, suddenly stumbling upon a family of elephants, Lavigne recounts how the animals would look up curiously, but soon forget about you and slowly continue their journey, unhurried by your presence, at their own pace. There was little evidence of human encroachment on the landscape, the sight of other people was rare and only the strategically located gas stations acted as a reminder of the world beyond and a link back to reality.

Patience was key to capturing Namibia’s subtle scenery and at times the sameness of the vast, barren landscape was hard to navigate. Time seemed to move slower for Lavigne and she would drive for hours, “driving though nothing, to at long last arrive at…more of nothing”. Yet Land of Nothingness uncovers the unexpected beauty often hidden in plain sight on the scorched earth of the Namib and reveals the carefully balanced order that comes with life in an unrelenting desert.

A selection of photos from Land of Nothingness are on view at Somerset House for the Sony World Photography Awards until 8 May.

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