Desert Dispatches...

TOMBSTONES OF THE GHOST FARMS

November 17, 2016  •  1 Comment
Twin Silos and Collapsed Farm Building - Infrared Exposure - Bishop, CA - 2016 The past speaks to us in a thousand voices, warning and comforting, animating and stirring to action. – Felix Adler Across the dead fields and arid wasteland of northern Inyo County there are ringed silos standing straight, desolate and empty. They are now tombsto...
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OF MIRACLES AND BURNING PALMS: THE GREAT FIRE OF THERMAL, CA

August 30, 2016  •  1 Comment
“All things are possible, if only you believe.” – Gospel song sung by Elvis Presley and others The rumor went around that the fire in the fan palm grove belonging to the Jesus Is Salvation Church began with a lightning strike. Pastor Ruben Martinez tells me it may have been an electrical short in a work shed on the property. So the fire wasn’t...
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ONE THOUSAND AND ONE CULTURAL ILLUSIONS: ORIENTALISM IN THE COACHELLA VALLEY

July 15, 2016  •  Leave a Comment
God, she was beautiful - my first image of the Orient - a woman such as only the desert poet knew how to praise: her face was the sun, her hair the protecting shadow, her eyes fountains of cool water, her body the most slender of palm-trees and her smile a mirage. – Amin Maalouf Our attitudes about the Orient and Middle East have changed signif...
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MR. AND MRS. DATE PALM ARE MOVING TO THE COUNTRY

June 15, 2016  •  1 Comment
An old Arabic legend tells of the Date palm's creation: "After God had finished molding Man from Earth; He took the remaining material and shaped it into a date palm which he placed in the Garden of Paradise." As we drive around the Coachella Valley towns of Indio, Thermal, Coachella, and even Mecca, we see full-grown, beautiful date palms being c...
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APRIL IS THE COOLEST MONTH

April 05, 2016  •  Leave a Comment
Hot off the press, the Whole Life Times' feature story High & Dry: L.A.'s Tug-of-War with its Neighbors (beautifully written by Genie Davis) explores the city's historic relationship to the surrounding desert and the challenges we face in an era of increased water scarcity. by Genie Davis, photos by Osceola Refetoff Meanwhile, High & Dry's...
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THE DESERT SALT PAN: EMPTY AND FULL; SENESCENT AND REBORN

March 29, 2016  •  3 Comments
“I said nothing at the time, just ran my fingertips along the edge of the human-shaped emptiness that had been left inside me.” – Haruki Murakami, Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman Standing at the edge of the salt pan on the floor of Death Valley I think of sugar frosting, chocolate foam and chocolate chip ice cream. I reach down and pop a very tiny...
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OF DESERT CASTLES AND HUMAN HUBRIS

March 01, 2016  •  2 Comments
I think natural disasters have been looked upon in the wrong way. Newspapers always say they are bad. a shame. I like natural disasters and I think that they may be the highest form of art possible to experience. For one thing they are impersonal. I don’t think art can stand up to nature. Put the best object you know next to the grand canyon,...
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ALTERED LANDSCAPE OF THE HUMAN SPIRIT

January 12, 2016  •  1 Comment
Any landscape is the condition of the spirit. – Henri Frederic Amie Looking around the severely disturbed countryside, the mine foreman sees beauty in the landscape. He is harshly altering and deconstructing it with giant land-moving trucks chewing away at what’s left of several, now indistinguishable, small cinder cones. The “product” is excav...
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WALKING THROUGH TIME: THE LAYERED PAST OF RED HILL'S VOLCANIC VIEWSCAPE

December 16, 2015  •  Leave a Comment
“Sometimes, when one is moving silently through such an utterly desolate landscape, an overwhelming hallucination can make one feel that oneself, as an individual human being, is slowly being unraveled. The surrounding space is so vast that it becomes increasingly difficult to keep a balanced grip on one's own being. The mind swells out to fill the...
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VIDEO & THE RADIO STAR

November 04, 2015  •  Leave a Comment
VIDEO & THE RADIO STAR Eric Minh Swenson's documentary on High & Dry premieres today, after this weekend's acclaimed premiere of Christopher Langley's original radio play You Are There: The Water Picnic, performed by Metabolic Studio's IOU Theater in Lone Pine, CA. This 8-minute film outlines High & Dry's long-term collaboration and compares...
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HENRY JONES: STUMBLING ON WHERE HOME IS

October 06, 2015  •  Leave a Comment
It's a bizarre but wonderful feeling, to arrive dead center of a target you didn't even know you were aiming for. – Lois McMaster Bujold Meeting Henry Jones was a serendipitous event. We were photographing the “throttling” installation in the Trona water system in Poison Canyon when, after several calls from passersby that “some guys were messi...
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HIGH & DRY RECENT FEATURES

September 15, 2015  •  Leave a Comment
LMGA Compass Magazine - Cover, Feature Article and "Martini Shot" Compass Magazine's article Osceola Refetoff: The Authentic Character of Things as They Are features Osceola's infrared photo on the cover, as well as the "martini shot" on the last page, referencing the final shot of the day on a film shoot. Click on either image to read the full...
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JEFF NEWMAN: HOME IS WHERE THEY HAVE TO TAKE YOU IN

September 08, 2015  •  Leave a Comment
Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in. – Robert Frost The people who are born in a place that calls them back are lucky people. For if it is truly home, as Robert Frost assures us, then they have to take you in. For many, Trona is one of those places. But you can only decide to return if you left in the fi...
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CA 395: THE HIGH ROAD HOME FROM BURNING MAN

August 20, 2015  •  Leave a Comment
You just spent a week at Burning Man on a playa in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada. You even loved the dust, but now you’re done with the dust. You loved the desert, but you’re done with the heat. You loved not showering as much as you would at home, but you’re tired of your sweat smell. You loved going without sleep but now your body is bone tired...
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THE HUDSONS: AT HOME IN A LASTING LOVE

August 04, 2015  •  Leave a Comment
Sometimes you just look into someone’s eyes and know those are the eyes you want to get lost in for the rest of your life. ― Fad Ibra After a first meeting, you won’t know all the details of a couple’s life together, but you will know with conviction if they have been in love. Joe and Delores Hudson in a few months will celebrate their sixtieth...
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