How on Earth...




Here is is it that I came to be here and dedicate myself to this photo project:

I came across the Salton Sea on a cross country trip in August 2005 when my friend and I came out of the Anza Borrego Desert on the 78 and turned North onto the 86. German born, Washington D.C. raised and a decade in London meant that the American Southwestern Desert was an enigma to me, my shangri-la. I was gazing out of the window at this ‘thing’ that I couldn’t quite figure out what it was: It couldn’t have been a lake - not in the desert! Yet it did not make sense that it was salt flats, as it had a icyblueish tint to it, but I thought perhaps it was taking on the colour of the cobalt blue skies. But that didn’t seem to be the answer either. I couldn’t figure it out. Common sense told me that it just couldn’t be a lake. Right?

Upon returning home, I started doing research on what I saw and there wasn’t too much information and not many pictures and somehow none of it fit with what I had seen. So I decided I must come out here and find out for myself. February 2008 I moved to Santa Ana from London to work and to come out to the Salton Sea as much as possible and figure out why I was so drawn to this place. It soon became clear that this was at best a most complex environment, that it was drying out, that for the most part people had either never heard of it or didn’t care for it or couldn’t even say the name without a grimace. With this project I wanted to show not just the beauty of the Sea that I saw, but also that there are humans living here.  While working on the project, I learned about the fascinating environment, the beautiful natural habitats, the cool animals, and its rich cultural and historical stories. The people in this book share what they know, what they struggle with, how they are trying to help and what their hopes for the future are.   

In this book you have read the stories of those who live and or work at the Salton Sea. This book is to provide those people with a platform to speak out. Upon starting this book, I didn’t realize how difficult it would be to give the reader a just selection of the many different people that make the Salton Sea their home and/or workplace and it is thus that I recognise that it is incomplete. The families from Mexico are under-represented, the people from the local tribe, the Torres-Martinez, are as well. I am continuing to interview and photograph and will work towards putting together an even more complete picture. In the meantime, there are 19 people in this book, who have presented to you their stories. There will be a website dedicated to continuing this project, which can be found under thesaltonseaspeaks.com 
On there you will also find more links to information on the Salton Sea.



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