For this month’s issue, Melissa Kreider, Founding Editor of Don’t Smile, selected Matjaz Krivic as the Feature Award Winner from the submissions to have their project highlighted.
Matjaz Krivic is a documentary photographer specializing in capturing the personality and grandeur of indigenous people and places. For 20 years he has covered the face of the earth in his intense, personal and aesthetically moving style that has won him several prestigious awards including, World Press Photo in 2016, among others. His stories of planet Earth, temples, illusions, our efforts, needs and afflictions, which he photographed in different parts of the world, establish links with the subtlety of our parallel archetypal worlds, expanding the space of inspiration, as well as our empathy and tolerance towards the known and unknown cultural space.
Lithium – The Driving Force of the 21st Century
Batteries are the social and industrial game changers of our time. I've followed the tracks of its core component, lithium, from mining to final products.
Electric cars, smart phones, solar panels, robotics – they are all driven by batteries, causing the market for lithium soar. But the world will soon be in short supply, which in turn can cause serious geo-strategic consequences. The photographic project follows the path from the mining of this raw material at Salar de Uyuni high up in the Bolivian Andes, Bolivia holding the largest confirmed lithium reserves in the world, to the manufacturing of the final products like electric cars and the lithium ion batteries around China. China is a leading global producer as well as a rapidly growing market for the lithium-battery driven products and e-mobility.
As the need for effective climate protection gets stronger, the development of cleaner energy is gaining momentum. At the same time, a key part of the solution, lithium, and the production of the material, is not without its own hazards and sins. Lithium pollution is an increasing problem wherever lithium is mined, and also there are threats to local communities that are totally taken control over by mining companies. Also, as the supply of lithium is not fast enough to accommodate the demand, signs of the bottleneck effect are already manifesting, with Chinese, Australian and American corporations buying lithium mines in various countries around the world to ensure the reserves for the future.
It is a story of the future unraveling in front of our eyes, raising awareness about how we are shifting from fossil to electric actually is happening, with all its wonderful possibilities but also how it’s affecting geo politics and how clean energy also comes with a price and some risks.