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Mar 04, 2023
Which way to turn
To the left to the right
Straight ahead or burn
All these pathways lead the same
Fortune lost a tortured fame
One thousand callings to forsake this hill
These choices find me standing still
We were living in Hollywood and some things were going well and others were going nowhere good. We decided to pull the plug. In 2004, we sold almost everything and bought a 1986 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia.
I kept my cameras and large blue vintage asian art deco rug we got on sale at a place on Western which I stored at my mother's. I sit upon this rug now as I type this post. I had a pair of red Doc Martens I scored at the thrift store and a small suitcase of clothes when we packed up the van we named Bertha, me, my husband Rob and our two year old Staffie Daisy and hit the road.
I had wanted a van since middle school when my family friends since preschool came and camped on our ranch in Matilija Canyon in their pop up van. I was instantly enamored and spent the rest of my school years imagining the time when I would get my van and travel the country.
Well, the time had arrived.
We had been camping at our favorite spot in Bishop and decided to meander through Death Valley while heading generally south on a return trip to Ojai. I was still booking photo jobs, so we had to return for those periodically.
The map said there was an old mine that we wanted to check out. The road ended up being impassable but there was a shack and a man selling warm Pepsis who regaled us with stories as we sipped the decidedly unpleasant sodas. About the point when he started mentioning Charles Manson's abandoned vehicle and the fact that we were apparently a stone's through from the infamous ranch, we decided it was time to hit the road.
As we headed toward the main road, the sun was declining. The second I saw this view I told Rob, stop the van. I'd seen this before, in my mind. I jumped out the sliding door, crouched down touching the sand with my Nikon FE2 loaded with Ilford Delta 3200 35mm film, and made this photo.
Freed From Rage and Sorrow: Reflections of Emptiness in the American Dream
Archival pigment print mounted to dibond (framing optional)
“Boldly Going Nowhere”
Bertha + Rob on PCH
twenty years later and the choices of then are here and now. The
urgency of change echoes through centuries and still we continue down
this destructive road.
was passed to me and so I must carry it and pass it as best I can. The
vision, the knowledge, the remembering of who we are and the practice of
restoring balance to the human condition.
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