— THE MOJAVE —
"The Mojave" is an ongoing photographic series documenting the Mojave Desert, a sprawling and resilient region of the United States that is home to a number of unique and rare species of animals and plants. It survives on its own terms, seemingly untouched by time or contemporary society.
The Joshua Tree is an iconic and rare tree known to grow in only two regions on earth — the Mojave Desert, and near Jerusalem. The trees rely on another rare species for pollination — the yucca moth.
During the government shutdown in the United States in early 2019, the trees in Joshua Tree National Park were subject to destruction at the hands of disrespectful tourists. Visitors had taken advantage of the absence of park rangers and chopped some of the beautiful trees down to clear paths for their vehicles where no roads existed.
In recent years, people have begun to take notice of the old, abandoned jackrabbit homesteads that pepper the roadside of Wonder Valley and Twentynine Palms. Renovations have begun on many of the structures, transforming them from neglected shacks into weekend art studios, hip Airbnb rentals, and vacation homes for those looking to escape the noise of nearby cities.
Strange art installations are hidden throughout the Mojave, particularly in areas surrounding Joshua Tree and Wonder Valley. One of the more well-known installations in the region, Noah Purifoy’s Outdoor Desert Art Museum of Assemblage Sculpture is an outdoor museum featuring the work of late artist Noah Purifoy that is maintained and preserved by the Noah Purifoy Foundation.
Old laundry, hanging on a line inside one of the installations at Noah Purifoy’s Outdoor Desert Art Museum of Assemblage Sculpture.
A row of toilets without walls, part of the installations at Noah Purifoy’s Outdoor Desert Art Museum of Assemblage Sculpture. The installation brings to mind the very basic human desire for privacy, while at the same time reminding us of the immense vastness of the desert, where long stretches of time can pass without encountering another person even in public places.
An expansive view of the landscape from a high place overlooking the Mojave Desert.
Occasionally, some of the homesteads dotting the landscape of the Mojave become homes to people who have left society for a quieter lifestyle in the desert, away from the busy and often inequitable structure of contemporary urban society.
A Joshua Tree peeks over an aluminum fence on a clear, bright afternoon.
Beautiful, twisting rock formations make up the landscape in many regions of Joshua Tree.
Throughout the desert, time appears to stand still as the landscapes in many places take on an almost prehistoric, extraterrestrial-like appearance.
A structure sits without a working door, a quiet reminder of the vast loneliness of its surroundings.
Interior of a room long forgotten.
A row of mailboxes that belong to far-away homes, seeming to belong to no-one.
In some parts of the desert, immense rocks compose a significant part of the path.
The landscape in Joshua Tree, while refreshingly and uniquely beautiful, can also be a lonely experience after many hours wandering through its immense quietness.
A view of the rocky peaks in Joshua Tree National Forest.
In other parts of the desert, cacti grow. Some of the cacti is native, and some has been brought in from the outside as decoration.
A view of the dry and rocky desert landscape of the Mojave.