I captured and created the “Oxidized” collection over a two-year time frame and entirely from within the boundaries of the Mojave Desert, whose 47,877 square miles of arid rain shadow occupies portions of the states of California, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona. Named after the Mojave tribe of Native Americans, the Mojave Desert’s characteristics are generally defined by the presence of Joshua trees, a climate of extreme variations in daily temperature, and an average annual precipitation of 2 to 6 inches.
My inspiration to shoot images of oxidized metal follows my desire to display the stark and beautiful remainder of the metals man has used during his pursuit of survival within this exceedingly hostile and unforgiving environment. By use of color, tone, shadow, and light, the metal’s splendor and usefulness are accentuated. From helping lonely ranchers eke out an existence in high desert uplands such as the OX Ranch, to being strewn about as junked and destroyed cars and military vehicles, to abandoned farms, to dilapidated, destroyed and degraded mining equipment, ore bodies played out, insufficient water, fights among men or overbearing environmental laws, much of the metal within the Mojave has seen its period of glory, now to be remembered only in its discarded state.
And, even though no longer used for their intended purposes, these metals act as sentinels to the march of time, slowly losing their original luster, strength, and purpose. Now, marking their current and perhaps final resting places, they rust away, and for a time present themselves as art impressions before wind-driven sands bury them, and their past will no longer be visible to our future descendants.