I grew up in Las Vegas in the 70’s, surrounded by the Mojave Desert. When I was younger, I used to think it was an ugly desert, especially compared to the place my family relocated from, the lush forests and sand dunes in Indiana. The Mojave Desert, by default, became my home. As a young adult, I moved away to greener places around the United States and Europe for about a decade. Eventually I realized that I missed home, and a big part of that had to do with the Mojave Desert.
In the area of the desert where I live, we only get about 4 inches of rainfall each year. It’s a harsh environment, especially for its natural inhabitants. But due to adaptive behaviors, life continues because the animals and plants have been able to overcome these obstacles.
Desert Project reveals diverse layers of life within the Mojave Desert by overlapping multiple exposures on film within the camera. And although I find a certain beauty in exposing these extreme desert conditions, what seem more important to me is how the desert gives reference to the inescapable obstacles that are interconnected to human persistence.
I photograph with an extremely low-tech camera called a Diana. It’s made of plastic and has a plastic lens. It has no light meter to get the proper exposure, and no method to get the perfect focus. It’s an (educated) guessing game. I use this camera because of its unpredictable nature that gives the photographs an element of chance. The film I use is just as unpredictable; it tends to shifts colors around, —yellows become purple, blues become aqua, allowing for an unexpected color palette with a surreal quality to develop.
Some people may look at the desert and see land that is colorless and empty, as I did when I was a girl. But I know that it’s not that at all. There’s a stillness to the Mojave, and it seems that when I am able to find that stillness within myself, the deprivation of the land transforms into beauty and unpredictable possibilities.
These images are captured with a digital camera. Each image is printed by the artist using archival pigment print. Each photograph is signed by the artist en verso.
Limited edition of 5 (+2 artist proofs).