The Desert will always remain..

I feel really privileged to now live in a State (California) where many great photographers have tread and made great pioneering images. In particular, Edward Weston was an influence for me early on and throughout my college years up and along the northern coast of England where the sun rarely shone.
I have been making images in California now for more than 20 years and started in a time when the dollar went a long way, always helpful on your first road trip. My first trip was solely a black and white affair with my Weston influences looking for desert dunes and Joshua trees.

 Mojave 2000

I loved California so much I came back a year later, but this time was very different as I had switched to large format and colour film.

For Sale. Mojave 2001
This was a real turning point for me and I would go on to shoot this way for many years producing several projects, some still ongoing.

Mojave 2020

In a time when a lot of people are reviewing their own past journeys and longing to get out somewhere, its nice for me to think of those early trips and fulfilling my ambitions as a photographer.


"The real voyage of discovery consists, not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes."

With the worlds occupants still inside we can always travel in our minds.. No one wants to hear that sort of toot at the moment I am sure, but its what I woke up thinking of this morning..
My neighborhood, like most others at the moment of course, is strangely quite (obviously), but interesting all the same with things I have never noticed before. 

It is important for me to remain consistent in my goals as a photographer and stay on track. All to often in these circumstances we set ourselves unrealistic goals. It's a bit like New Year resolutions of gaining a Six Pack, running a marathon, or just being a better person. Very often when we have 'spare time' thrust upon us we never use it.

I hear the optimists cry;
"When life gives you lemons make lemonade... "
But then what...Why not, take those lemons, plant an orchard, and build a lemonade empire.. Its a bit more long term..

Anyway, I have no idea where this is going so shall leave you with my favorite overused quote and an excuse to show my latest images:

"The real voyage of discovery consists, not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." 
Marcel Proust.


Unihabited verses Isolated..

I read a dull article over on the Peta Pixel blog the other day regarding the current lock down and how photographers should avoid the obvious cliches of empty streets and discarded face masks etc.
Yes, I am all about trying to look at things from a different 'angle', but obvious cliches are often a good starting point and can lead onto other 'less obvious' things..

What I did find interesting is that they used a 15 year old Todd Hido image (used it just like I am using mine here) to demonstrate a point and added that now the image had an entirely different meaning. 

The concept of an image changing its meaning over time is an interesting one and something I hold dear (as mentioned on here not long ago).
I certainly do not believe for a second that Todd Hido intended his image from his House Hunting series to be regarded as a poster child for quarantine, but as people interpret images in their own way it may have become just that.

Very often the streets I photographed were not void of people, I made them that way. Therefore although my images represent empty streets, in theory they are not.

 MD Virtual Water 2004
 MD Vegas 2000
 MD Thursdays by The Sea 2004-2012
MD Death Valley 2016

 Photographing empty streets and places totally void of people is very different. These places often feel very different and the images often give a very different haunting quality, for example, there are no lights on anywhere...

It seems strange to me now that my latest series was made out in the desert and became an attempt to find places that are totally uninhabited, seeking out isolation when now it has been thrust upon us..
 However, let us remember, uninhabited and void of people are two entirely different concepts evoking very different emotions.. I think..


The efforts people go to to get rid of a sofa... Miles from anywhere a welcome insert into my project and may be my favorite sofa image.