Canyon de Chelly is located on the Navajo Reservation in Northern Arizona. This is early morning in the dead of summer.
A few weeks ago I found an original Polaroid SX-70 in a Catholic thrift store and my heart was overjoyed. The problem is, Polaroid stopped making film for the SX-70 a long time ago. About five years ago they stopped production of all instant film. Luckily the Impossible Project came along and now they are producing the film. Although it’s pricey, I think it’s worth it’s weight in gold. This sepia shot was taken on PX 600 Silver Shade instant film from Impossible. Here’s their website: .
The way of life on the reservation isn’t easy at all. Yesterday, when I left Southern Utah and went down there, I wondered what it meant to see this plastered on an unfinished abandoned house on the Navajo Reservation? It seems like life is tough enough that some dreams never survive. I cannot help but think colonialism is all to blame for all the hardship and oppression that I see in these Indian communities. As an outsider, a non-indigenous person, I can see the heartache but also a strong will to survive and continue…
I found this awesome fridge caked in rust out in the desert near Utah/Nevada state line. The rust is absolutely beautiful. The best part of this photo is that the sage brush surrounds the fridge and who knows how long it’s been sitting there? When did someone dump it out here? Is the person that discarded still around? Who knows? I see the foot-prints of our civilization on the edge of time and it reminds me how short life is and how quickly it passes by.
This ancient turn-of-the-century building still stand tall and proud against the tough desert winds that sweep through Modena, Utah. Half of the community is abandoned with a population of maybe 18. Nearby, State Route 56 hits the Utah/Nevada border to the west about 7 miles.
Back in the late 19th century, when the mining camp of Pioche, Nevada was established, they say over 76 people died in shoot-outs or were murdered before anyone died of natural causes. They say the town was more notorious and corrupt than Dodge City and Tombstone combined. Little is known about Pioche because in is so isolated in Southern Nevada. The town has a strong feel of being haunted so it’s exciting to go take pictures of it at night. We were passing through in the middle of the night, so I thought it fitting to take some pictures.
Everything man-made eventually becomes a part of the natural landscape. That landscape is there long after human civilization dies. This is the earth and we are here for a short time. Humans are a part of the natural landscape and that is why I consider human elements in every one of my natural shots. There is no such thing as pristine wilderness.
I posted this picture because I just like it and it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks. My photography comes from my own style and vision and nobody else. Of course I like looking at the work of different photographers and even reading books on photography but I still rely mostly on my own innate desires to produce something that is unique in it’s own right. In reality, I do photography for myself before I do it for anyone else. It’s what ties me to the land, the culture and the people that I visit and revisit. It anchors me to these places and it has formed my politics, worldview, and life. That’s a lot of credit I am giving to the art of photography but it has given my life serious meaning. As a photographer, I have become more in tune with my environment and more perceptive.