Think of this post as a sneak preview of a soon to come project that I am tentatively calling Inland Empire. These pictures were all taken during a one month residency at the Joshua Tree Highlands Artist-in-Residence program. For my artist friends, I highly recommend this residency! The location is one mile outside of the west entrance to Joshua Tree National Park, so the location is perfect. On top of that, the living situation is pretty amazing. Artists get their own house looking out over the desert and in my case I had a studio all to myself. It's also run by two of my new favorite people, Jim and Frederick (you guys rock)!
It's true what they say, the desert is incredibly alive. Hiking alone, as I did most evenings, is on one hand extremely peaceful, and on the other a little nerve racking because of the overwhelming sense that you are not alone. That is one thing these photograph fail to represent. These photographs also do not convey the feeling one gets when you are driving in the vast expanse of land and the last bar on your cell phone disappears. They do not depict the close encounter I had with a bobcat on my back porch late one night, although, I did manage to get a shot of the diamondback rattlesnake I met on a hike, just before he crept into a bush. And though I did try, these photographs cannot adequately represent the personalities I met at the Yucca Valley Swap Meet, where, if you look hard enough you can buy almost anything you would ever want.
Perhaps it is my short comings as a photographer that prevented me from telling a more complete story with these images. Or, perhaps the experiences themselves were like everything else in the desert, just a bit extreme. The colors in the sky at dusk are indescribable and, I would guess, unprintable. And to be honest I'm glad. I wouldn't want to print them on a piece of paper. Some things just need to be experienced first hand. If these photographs succeed at anything I hope it is to inspire you to go experience the desert for yourself. Whether it's on a residency or just on vacation. I have no doubt you'll find it to be a unique adventure.
Noah Purifoy's Outdoor Museum
Bob, the owner of the Yucca Valley Swap Meet and the creative genius behind the famed Crystal Cave
Pioneer Town, CA
Desert Shores, CA, on the banks of the polluted Salton Sea
Time machine parts
Andrea Zittel's Wagon Station Encampment
Desert Center, CA, which only barely avoids ghost town status
A few LA shots taken on my way home
Hollywood Forever Cemetery
More soon to come!