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Bombay Beach: The fine art of deepest desperation

Bombay Beach: The fine art of deepest desperation

December 2019 · 4 min read · California

What goes up, must come down was a saying of the great Isaac Newton in which he certainly does not thought of Bombay Beach, a small village on the east coast of the Salton Sea, a lake in the middle of the Sonoran Desert at Imperial County, California, where a former paradise is becoming more and more to a Ghost Town from which even the spirits flee. Deeper down you can’t live in the United States: On 68 meters below (223ft) sea level Bombay Beach ist he deepest town inside US.

Bombay Beach once was a famous resort where kids played, sunbeds stood on beaches and cool drinks close the day for tourists. They called it the miracle in the desert as a dam broke in 1905 and the swollen Colorado River flooded the Salton Sink desert for two years. Thereby a 24 km wide (15miles) and 56 km (35miles) long new lake was created: The Salton Sea, biggest lake of California, was the reason why investors from all over the states erected hotels, yacht clubs, houses and shops near the waterline. Salton Sea was a resort area where Frank Sinatra and The Beach Boys performed in the golden 50s and 60s.

But what goes up must come down like Adam Faucett in his very sad song "Salton Sea" sings. If you have a sea without a regular inflow just in the middle of a hot, hot desert it cannot last forever. The water level sinks, the saltiness goes up and the fishes are dying.

Nowadays the Salton Sea is more salty as the oceans. On the shoreline, on the former beaches with the sunbeds and cocktail bars, it smells like dead, rotten flesh from millions of dead shells. Not a single one human beeing swims in this water. But it is no water in reach – it’s all only mud.

So it goes in Bombay Beach, once a booming town, now rotten place without any kind of future. Filmproducer are the only guests who are attract about this scenery of debris and abandoned ruins, pinned motels, rusted boat frames, and broken pools completely covered in graffiti.They’re always come to make movies about the apocalypse and the end of the world. Good place for that!

It should be art now thats save the former paradise and the 200 residents. They drive around with golf carts in the village because the next petrol station is 65 km (40miles) away. But they have a shop for food and liquor, they have a bar and the had a car cinema made from a dozen of rusty and rotten classic cars. In front of this bizarre place Hermann said, a neighbor on the small and dusty street, you can find the hugest camera of the world.

It's real. Photographer Ian Ruther turned a complete house (picture above) in Bombay Beach into big camera with his "silver & light"-project. Over a year, he created two 200-pound ambrotypes — images created on glass with collodion — measuring 66 by 90 inches. One of his plates depicts a tree outside the camera house and now hangs in the Nevada Museum of Art. Another one shows the 100-year-old Bombay Beach resident named Ted we sadly didn't met.

But the rest of all this was enough. Look at the pictures and let you fantasy fly with a silver dome made of discarded metal, an air­craft fuselage turned into a huge fish, a slide made of twisted iron rods and two shipping containers in the form of a cross and all this paintings on the all this walls.

More pictures under the link section.
Follow me on my journey through America:

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Joshua Tree: Holy trees under a blood red sky
Area 66: The last secret of the aliens
Ghost Town Oatman: Where the mule does rule
Route 66: On the road that kicks
Grand Canyon West: No-pics allowed of this beauty
Grand Canyon: Scenic views into the abyss of earth
Graveyard of giants: The Jurassic Park at the Navajo Trail
More than monumental: The heart of the wild west
Arches NP: The biggest bow you've ever seen
Zion Canyon: Ice-cold feet in narrow waters
Bryce Canyon: God's glowing stones
Las Vegas: Home of Bad Luck
Red Rock Canyon: Road under the ocean
Death Valley: The dry throat of the desert
Mt. Withney: High on thin air
Mono Lake: Eating flies on a salty shore
Golden Gate Bridge: 80.000 miles of steel wire
Sequoia: Beyond the everlasting trees
Yosemite NP: Crazy climbers at El Capitan
High Sierra: The wonder of the Sierra Waves
Alcatraz: Into the home of horror
Richfield: Where Easy Rider is alive
Alabama Hills: Blue skies over Hollywoods West

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