In Southern California, settlers have long ventured into the Mojave Desert, seduced by its capacious horizons and fragile beauty, only to be abased by the intense heat, bone-dry terrain and maddening isolation. Industry, intent on extracting the land of its essence, set up operations, then walked away when there was nothing left worth taking.
Civilization has always pushed into the frontier, and quite often the frontier pushes back. Areas like the forsaken homesteads of Wonder Valley and the abandoned mining operations of Joshua Tree seem simultaneously depleted yet majestically audacious in their quiet desolation, juxtaposed against the breathtaking landscapes of the desert.
Abandoned California: The Mojave Desert is a collection of photographs and writings by Andy Willinger that capture the majesty of these forsaken buildings, vehicles and artifacts of the Mojave’s once vibrant past. These sites have become meaningful, unintended statements - not only as vibrant, ephemeral artworks of minimal beauty, but as testament to the impact on nature by humanity.
Undaunted, the Mojave Desert continues to brashly flaunt its skill in overcoming man’s attempts to conquer it.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)
Andy Willinger is an artist, photographer, writer, and creative originally from New York City. As the son of a Madison Avenue creative director and the stepson of a photojournalist, he was raised to appreciate the importance of striking visuals and clever storytelling. Andy studied at Boston University, earning a B.S. degree in broadcasting and film. He came to California in 1990, where he fell in love with the capacious horizons of the desert and the sea, living in both Los Angeles and the Joshua Tree area. After establishing a successful career in television, Andy continues to be a devoted explorer of the delicate beauty and unforgiving desolation of the American Southwest. His photographs are collected and displayed worldwide.