Whether he's photographing canisters that contain the ashes of former psychiatric patients or taking images of X-rays that reveal the insides of centuries-old art objects, David Maisel has a knack for revealing the haunting beauty of things that weren't meant to be beautified. And so it is with Maisel's images of mines from around the United States — photos from the air that are like hallucinations, with colorful formations that collide into each other with verve and odd entanglements. Maisel's latest exhibit, "Mining" at Haines Gallery, spans photos from the past three decades, and coincides with a book published earlier this year, Black Maps: American Landscape and the Apocalyptic Sublime. Julian Cox, founding curator of photography and chief curator at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, wrote the tome's introduction, and interviews Maisel at Haines Gallery on Thursday, Sept. 26. Their conversation offers a chance to hear two noteworthy figures delve into a body of work that continues to stand out for its penetrating gaze into layers below layers.
"Mining" runs through Oct. 26 at Haines Gallery, 49 Geary, S.F. Julian Cox interviews David Maisel at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 26; free.