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Sin Sombras - Artist Statement

Sin Sombras/Without Shadows

Artist’s Statement

(excerpted from the book by the same title)

Most of the images presented in Sin Sombras were taken within 30 miles of either side of a line drawn between the gritty little towns of El Centro, south of the Salton Sea, and Barstow to the north, a distance of roughly 200 miles as the buzzard flies. All of them were made during the past five years or so. (Author’s note, the book was published in 2018.) In most places, the evidence of man is relatively scant—a few small towns and some highways and farms scattered about here and there, haphazardly, as if they had been set in their places by the careless instincts of the desert wind. Some of the structures are fresh out of the box, so to speak, such as the garish outlet malls along the interstate exits, while others amount to little more than abandoned ruins, decaying in the sun, as might be said for some of the people who live here.

Mostly, there’s a whole lot of nothing. It is a world without clutter, in the extreme.

As a result, one can always see the horizon—all 360 degrees of it—upon which rests the dome that is 180 degrees of sky. The world set beneath that dome is largely naked rock, other than those places covered with sand or altered in some way by the activities of the dominant species here—man. Frequently, the skies are cloudless, and as there is no humidity to scatter the light, it settles on the landscape, unadulterated, as perfect as the moment it left the sun.

Oh, and there is the wind that engenders a sense of restless agitation except at twilight, when the air often becomes very still and liquid, providing a medium such that the spirits might wheel. The wind coats all of the earth that is not moving in a patina of fine, white dust that, in turn, reflects the light upward, back to the sky from where it came. In this world, the light washes over you from all directions, such that one is immersed in it, as there is no cover, no merciful shade.

In this space one can grow blinded, overwhelmed—

suspended in the substance, 

                                               become light, 

                                                                   as if one might dissolve, 

                                                                                                          between heaven and earth. 

For without shadows—sin sombras—there is no place to hide.

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