One day they’ll have the guts to call this what it was — a concentration camp (Manzanar “relocation center”). When I first drove past here more than twenty years ago, there really wasn’t anything marking the place — maybe just a plaque a little down US 395 from the old county maintenance shed, and no one I asked was entirely sure where it was (there were no signs on the highway). No one really ever mentioned it; the idea of it being a concentration camp was deeply controversial. Nowadays it’s being slowly recreated (there’s a new old guard tower as well as the sentry and guard stations), and it’s at least a little on the locals’ minds, if only as a potential tourist attraction, and the term “concentration camp” gets used a little more freely. And it’s got its own rather nice National Parks page for the curious. The thing that’s always struck me, though, is just how physically beautiful the location is: the High Sierra to the west, the Inyos to the east, the desert floor… hell to live in, though, especially in forced camps. I try to visit the place every year.
One of my favourite Death Valley photos, taken a few years ago on the salt pans at Badwater, the lowest point in North America. I think it nicely catches the hot shimmering distances of Death Valley (this was taken sometime early autumn), and that decisive moment when the couple on the left are looking back, videoing the mountains behind me. Everyone takes a photo like this (and we all owe a lot to Richard Misrach‘s “Desert Cantos” when we do it), but this one’s mine, I guess.
Tug “Richard Brusco” working the Estuary off the Dutra Yard one winter’s twilight, as seen from Union Point. I’m not really much of an obsessive tug-spotter, but I do like the atmospheric feeling in this image, and it’s such a typical sight around where I live — a large workaday tug setting off for home (Seattle) or out onto the Bay. Most tugs you see around Oakland are smaller tractor tugs; this one’s more likely to be seen pulling large barges or scows along the coast, I guess.
Two of my favourite landscapes, brought together with Photoshop. This is one of the few images I have that also works well printed onto canvas: rather than looking gimmicky (as so often happens), the texture of the canvas actually complements the texture of the image itself. Looks great at about a metre square….