The rock formations in the High Altitude photo series don't exist physically, yet they are very present in our society of simulations. The photos visualize the development of the leading global stock market indices over the past 20-30 years.
Each stock market index, such as the Dow Jones (shown above), Nikkei, Nasdaq or the more specific Lehman Brothers stock quote downfall, corresponds to a impeccably rendered unique mountain range. Photographer Michael Najjar used the images captured during his trek to Mount Aconcagua (6,962m) as the basis of the high altitude data visualizations.
Msci world 80-09
Dow jones 80-09
More images at michaelnajjar.com
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Also see this NextNature TED talk where Kevin Slavin refers to Michael Najjar's photos: http://www.ted.com/talks/kevin_slavin_how_algorithms_shape_our_world.html
These rock formations look sharp and crisp because erosion is purposefully thrown out of the picture. Once eroded by the inflation rate, the real landscape of the stock market looks flat and depressing, akin the hilled regions of the Benelux which were as high as the Alps in a very distant past.