End of the journey, Cuenca, Ecuador, 2011
This is more than an image of an antique automobile left to decay. It is the story of journey’s end itself. The old auto has run its course, and can go no further. A huge pile of softly focused dirt and rocks fills the foreground of this image, forming an impenetrable barrier. It has come to the end of its road.
Gauges, Goldfield, Arizona, 2011
The five rusting gauges on an abandoned mining machine still show their final positions, dating back to some time before 1926. The fifth gauge has vanished, leaving only a void behind. I tilt the panel slightly to energize the image, and play it against the surrounding darkness.
Mining machinery, Goldfield, Arizona, 2011
Left rusting in a field on the edge of the Goldfield Ghost Town, this mining equipment still seems to throb with energy despite at least 85 years of abandonment. I photographed it at sunset, causing the play of warm, golden light across the rhythmic flow of vents to create an imaginary sense of vitality.
Primary colors, Cordes Junction, Arizona, 2011
An ancient fender conveys the three primary colors through its yellow headlight, rusted reddish fender, and blue paint. I found this automotive fragment sitting on the porch of the Cordes Junction general store.
Cactus bound, Cordes Junction, Arizona, 2011
The high desert of central Arizona offers a resting place for a car that ended its journeys many years ago. Its bed of cactus and bushes provides the ultimate stop sign. This layered image contrasts the life and death cycles of both man and nature.
1949 Buick, Bluff, Utah, 2009
After shooting the exterior of this car for about twenty minutes, it occurred to me that I was missing the point. Although the exterior of the car certainly evoked the passage of time, it did not come close to the sense of ruination conveyed by the interior. I built this image very simply – including only part of the front seat, strewn with rubble and rat droppings, the door handle, window crank, armrest, and shredded insulation on the door. A huge hole draws the eye, a symbol of lost function and empty dreams. The car sits rotting in front of a trading post. I focused on internal rather than external decay to express the nature of utter ruin.
Chaos, Cordes, Arizona, 2009
I use a long telephoto lens here to pull background and foreground subjects together in order to create a sense of chaos. The back yard of the old general store in the ghost town of Cordes is filled with decaying cars, junk, and even outhouses. The focus here is on the car – its once elegant body now rusted and dented. Yet the softly focused outhouse that seems to be falling apart just behind it is just as important to the story here – it’s not just about an old car, but rather about an old car and the world it once lived in.
Last stop, Hackberry, Arizona, 2009
I found this old car in a lot behind the old Hackberry General Store that stands along old Historic Route 66. I include only the front section of the car to stress the abrupt nature of its last stop. Its tire is flat, its paint rusted, and it faces the long branches of a tree that seem to be reaching out to grab it.
Truck graveyard, Oatman, Arizona, 2009
Tourism may slowly be bringing the ghost town of Oatman back to life, but these Oatman trucks have died and will eventually rust out together in what seems like a vehicular graveyard. They have been carefully pushed together, presumably to make room for future additions. The once happy colors take on an ironic quality as the rusting hulks seemingly press together for comfort.
Wreakage, Old Route 66, Arizona, 2009
The treacherous hairpin turns in the mountains between Kingman and Oatman are the most dangerous part of Historic Route 66 in Northern Arizona. We spotted this crushed car sitting at the bottom of a gulch, below a hairpin turn that it obviously failed to make. I photograph the wreckage nestled among the very boulders that destroyed it. The damage to the car is so great that whoever was in that car either must have been either killed or seriously injured. The authorities never removed the wreck – either it has been left here as a grim warning to other drivers, or it was just too expensive to cart away.
Not for sale, Coloma, California, 2008
An old Dodge truck sits in a barn window just outside of Coloma, covered with dust. On its windshield, someone has inscribed “not for sale.” I moved in to stress the incongruous effect of the dust – it adds a patina of color that is as special as its yellow and blue paint job.
Growth and decay, Gold King Mine, Haynes, Arizona, 2007
This old mining town just outside Jerome, Arizona, houses dozens of moldering cars. Some of them have been parked here for nearly 100 years. I noticed that the grille trim on this rusting car had once been painted green. Green weeds, growing nearly as high as the car itself, surround it. The car decays while nature flourishes around it, yet grille and grass are inextricably linked to each other by color.