Photographs by Johnny Kerr
Early in the morning on New Year's Day, a dear friend and I merged onto the I-10 West towards California. The road was wet with rain and Phoenix was nothing but dark, ominous shades of grey in the rear-view mirror. Our destination was the Salton Sea.
I’ve never really had a companion accompany me on a photography expedition before because it takes a special kind of patience and contentment to hang around while I lose myself in the pursuit. As it turns out, I picked the right friend for this trip; Matt not only possessed the required patience, but he also enriched the whole pursuit.
We spent about a day and a half leisurely making our way around the accidental, man-made lake, stopping whenever I saw a potential image. In the car rides between sites, we reflected and processed together. I shared my impressions from the subject and environment I was photographing, and he shared bits of the poetry he was reading or what he was writing. I have no doubt that our mutual sharing positively affected the work each of us was doing.
As a photographer, I have no interest in photojournalism. I'm only interested in the camera as a tool to make art. It was not my goal to tell a story, or even to produce a uniform portfolio. However, I did include the last two images for context. I do feel that it is important to this series to recognize that this was not a beautiful place. It is a place of death and decay where I saw beauty. That is a large part of the thrill of photography for me.
Some of the images are processed in color, and some in monochrome. That does not happen haphazardly. While planning each composition I had a vision for how I would process each scene from exposure through post-production to the final print. I really stretched myself in learning to work with color more intentionally and I learned much from it. Symmetry is a common theme throughout these compositions because it represents to me a kind of peace and stability. It is my way of bringing order to chaos, quietude among death and decay.
So, each of these images stands independent of the others, but they were all informed by each other. They were each inspired by the surrounding landscape and interactions with my traveling companion. I hope you enjoy these works and, as always, I look forward to hearing some of your thoughts as you observe them.
Visit www.johnnykerr.com/blog for a behind-the-scenes look at most of these images. It's more philosophical than technical; rather than talk about photography technique, I discuss my creative process, tell the stories behind the captures and reflect on my choices, experiences and thoughts related to the images.