I have to be honest, I’ve been sitting on these pictures from Slab City, CA for 2 years. At the time, I probably had some grand plan to do something with them, but I never got around to it and now I can’t remember what that grand plan was, so I’m just going to share them here.
Brad and I love to go out shooting just for personal work because it keeps us in tune creatively. Two years ago we were in Palm Springs doing some work and we had some time off over the weekend to explore. Locals recommend first timers to drive south on highway 111 through Coachella and along the once very popular Salton Sea. We didn’t really know what to expect driving through.
Slab City is home to ‘Slabbers’ who are RV owners, artists, or squatters wanting to be left alone living off the grid, forgoing the modern day amenities and expectations. It is also a common place for the non-traditional ‘Snowbird’ to get away. The town is built by the people (approximately 150 permanate occupants) and has been running on their own rules for over 50 years. There’s no government, road signs, infrastructure, electricity, trash pick-up, water or sewer system.
Desert heat can reach as high as 120 degrees F, and clocking in at about 100 degrees that day, it sure felt like we would be burnt to a crisp. We could see the heat waves radiating off the pavement and fields of dirt. It felt like we were in a movie with the dry air, scorching sun, and no water in sight.
Tree of Souls (Soles)
A short drive down the road there is an incredible art installation from a local resident and folk artist, Lenorad Knight. It is made of donated adobe, straw, and thousands of gallons of paint. It was his mission to spread the word of the Lord, that ‘God is Love’. The mountain is full of murals and versus from the Bible along with abandoned cars and trailers that he incorporated into the land.
His philosophy on life is quite simple, ‘Love Jesus and keep it simple’.
Inside of Salvation Mountain
The Salton Sea & Bombay Beach were once the main beach attraction back in the 50s and 60s, but you would never know that based on how it looks today. Everything is deserted and abandoned. It’s very erie in a post-apocalyptic way. Houses and trailers are left untouched with people’s belongings just sitting there, waiting for their return. The only sign of life are stray dogs, fish carcasses, and swarming seagulls. Aside from that, I enjoyed the nostalgia and history that has been left behind and preserved. Preserved in a way that I find timeless with rust and peeling paint.
Our timing and planning was very spur of the moment, so as the day came to an end and the sun said it’s goodbyes, so did we. We made our way back into Palm Springs watching the sun set behind the mountains. Next time we’ll have a map and a plan!