December 19, 2018

Bombay Beach

When you stare at something long enough, your perception of it changes. You notice it’s perfect imperfections, the shadows it creates at different times of day, the subtleties no one simply passing by would notice. A learned appreciation never became more obvious to me than in the time I spent in Bombay Beach shooting this project. This desert town has become a refuge for the misfits. Once a bustling tourist destination when the Salton Sea wasn’t overrun with salt, this area has become a hub for anyone trying to escape society. These days the properties of Bombay Beach are occupied by double-wides and run down shacks. My good friend Tao Ruspoli found beauty in the ruins and decided to buy up a few plots to create his own escape. Shortly after the Bombay Beach Biennale was born and this area has become a hub for freedom of creative expression.

Tao asked me to come out to Bombay Beach for a week and shoot the “town” as if I was shooting for Dwell… to take these dilapidated homes and find the beauty in them. Each morning I would wake up at sunrise and walk street-by-street scanning for hidden photographic treasures and would continue to do so until the sun fell below the horizon. This turned into one of my favorite photo projects as of late. It challenged and trained my eye to see differently. Once I returned to Los Angeles from this trip I found myself observing each building the same way, seeking these quiet moments in the architecture. I encourage any photographer to spend an extended amount of time meditating on a single subject matter they wouldn’t normally be compelled to shoot. Eventually your eyes will adjust and you’ll discover something you would have never seen before.