Apr 20, 2015

Bombay Beach, Salton Sea: Part 1

I returned to Bombay Beach, California in December to compare the location to images I shot 5 years ago. This fascinating locale on the eastern side of the Salton Sea is full of abandoned properties and deteriorating ruins. While the history of the Salton Sea is made up of glory-day stories centered around places like the North Shore Yacht Club, it seems that Bombay Beach is how most people imagine the area to be. That's not exactly the case.

On my return visit I had trouble picking out some of the same locations because they had been completely torn apart. This is more a sign of frequent visitors than it is of the time that's passed. Pop culture, notably Grand Theft Auto 5, has popularized the area and made it even more of a playground for photographers and explorers than it already was. Despite the notion of everything being abandoned, you're never far from other day trippers passing through. 

I was reminded of my first visit with my friend Dave. We were so captivated by the location and trying to understand what had happened. I purchased a copy of Plagues and Pleasures on the Salton Sea at the museum that used to be in Yacht Club, and it ended up only further fueling my interest in the Salton Sea. Bombay Beach still fascinates me today, but it feels like the secret is out. For better or worse, the ruins are falling.   

Dave at the Salton Sea. 2009 meets 2014.

The exposed back of an upright piano.

VHS copy of The Silence of the Lambs. Fittingly creepy.

Trying to find the same locations wasn't as easy as I thought. One of the poles is gone.

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