The “Temple Wilderness” series documents travels through Imperial County, in southeaster California. Heavily affected by pollution, this desert landscape is home to some of the poorest communities in the state, where inhabitants face some of the countries’ harshest social conditions. Here, one can find the ruins of the former flourishing resort Bombay Beach, situated on the shores of the toxic lake Salton Sea. Long gone are sunbathers and yachts, replaced by a post-apocalyptic wasteland. The county is also home to Slab City, an ‚outlaw’ city, often called the last free place in the United States. Lacking amenities such as water and electricity, the community is left to itself, with little interference from the outside world. Contrasted with the affluence and glitz of their northern neighbours such as Palm Springs, the desolate landscapes of Imperial County stand like a grim reminder of the back side of the American Dream; physical manifestations of disillusionment. The tensions are further heightened by the incredible beauty of the Sonoran Desert and the heavy pollution that is threatening to destroy it.

However, the photographs refuse to fall into a pity narrative. For in this impoverished surrounding has grown a world filled by a stubborn will for survival and a population determined to carve out a life on their own terms. For despite the harshness of the reality, this life also offers a unique freedom and solitude. The final result, is a series that depict a world coloured by extremities, displaying the brutality and beauty of life on the fringe of society.

The “Temple Wilderness” series documents travels through Imperial County, in southeaster California. Heavily affected by pollution, this desert landscape is home to some of the poorest communities in the state, where inhabitants face some of the countries’ harshest social conditions. Here, one can find the ruins of the former flourishing resort Bombay Beach, situated on the shores of the toxic lake Salton Sea. Long gone are sunbathers and yachts, replaced by a post-apocalyptic wasteland. The county is also home to Slab City, an ‚outlaw’ city, often called the last free place in the United States. Lacking amenities such as water and electricity, the community is left to itself, with little interference from the outside world. Contrasted with the affluence and glitz of their northern neighbours such as Palm Springs, the desolate landscapes of Imperial County stand like a grim reminder of the back side of the American Dream; physical manifestations of disillusionment. The tensions are further heightened by the incredible beauty of the Sonoran Desert and the heavy pollution that is threatening to destroy it.

However, the photographs refuse to fall into a pity narrative. For in this impoverished surrounding has grown a world filled by a stubborn will for survival and a population determined to carve out a life on their own terms. For despite the harshness of the reality, this life also offers a unique freedom and solitude. The final result, is a series that depict a world coloured by extremities, displaying the brutality and beauty of life on the fringe of society.