The desert, as you’ve never seen it before.

Humans are not built to withstand extreme heat: sunburn, heatstroke, dehydration. All indications are that heatwaves, of the kind that recently grounded flights in Arizona, damaged fisheries off Tasmania, and resulted in the highest temperature ever recorded, in Iran, are going to become more intense and frequent. Even deserts, already among the hottest and most inhospitable places on the planet, will feel the impact. The remorselessness of deserts seems somehow more symbolic and urgent today than ever before.

In these regions—some of the most sparsely populated in the world—it’s essential to be prepared. Otherwise, says photographer Luca Tombolini, “you just aren’t in the condition to photograph because you’re probably thinking about how to save yourself.” Tombolini photographs deserts with an eye for “plays of symmetries and purity.” His large format images show pastel-hued dunes that form sweeping, abstract shapes, and endless horizons under bleached blue skies.

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