Bombay Beach, California, in it's prime in the 1950s until the early 1970s, was a resort area. Due to toxic pollutants in the Salton Sea, this accidentally created lake became toxic, and millions of fish died and washed ashore. Tropical storms destroyed houses. There was a mass exodus, and presently the town has less than 300 residents. It can reach 120 degrees in the summer. It is on the San Andreas Fault.
I have always gravitated to people outside the mainstream. In previous projects, I have photographed heavily tattooed people in New York when tattooing was illegal, and people who chose to earn a living as boxers and mixed martial arts fighters. Additionally, I have spent many summers in Johnstown, PA where I witnessed the town's gradual deterioration. All these experiences influenced my photographic direction of many years.
My interest in Bombay Beach began with a documentary film. After my first visit, I was fascinated with the unusual landscape, as well as the sparse population. The nearest grocery store is thirty-eight miles away
My ensuing four trips to Bombay Beach have fostered my relationships with residents whom I have photographed and interviewed. The portraits, interviews, and landscapes begin to deepen the motivation of the residents' choices and how they adapt to unusual conditions.