Over the past several months, since putting the finishing touches on my Marking project, I’ve been wondering how to move forward with a new project. It is coming to me in bits and pieces, but I do not really know what it is yet or how to approach it. I know it will have a Western theme and to that end, I have been shooting subjects that seem to me to be somewhat uniquely western. This is somewhat confusing in that it is not enough to simply be shot in the west, but must have some connection to what is considered “The West”. I am leaning towards what traditionally comes to mind when thinking about the west and comparing it to the realities, or at least what the traditions have transitioned into.
For instance, when thinking historically about energy production in the west, oil is probably what comes to mind. Here in Southern California, while oil rigs still dot the landscape, the form of energy production that really stands out is wind production. I have been staying in the Palm Springs area for the past week or so, and there are large wind farms sprawled throughout the windy gap that Interstate 10 runs through. It immediately brought to mind the vast rig covered oil fields of the early west. While kind of fascinating, they are actually quite ugly, and up close, quite noisy. But they do represent how energy exploration has changed. This is a theme I will explore more.
Another area that caught my eye here are the gated retirement communities. As it happens, Mary and I are actually staying in one while in Palm Springs. This one has an area for motorhomes and requires one of the two of us to be 55 or older. Many of these communities consist of doublewide trailers positioned on small pads inside a landscaped bit of desert. The landscape is often a golf course – the desert brought to life. People often don’t own cars – they travel around in their golf carts. I am not sure if this will ultimatly be part of the project, but I feel there is a place for it.
Here are a few other images I have done on privious trips that will probably find a home in this new project: