What does a photographer mom and her artistically inclined friend do on President’s Day when the kids are out of school? Why, pack the kitchen sink, half the contents of the craft room, and the kids into the back of the van and go off searching for someplace to have an avant-garde dystopian photoshoot, of course!
It wasn’t easy and required a lot of research! Sue (the talented owner and designer extraordinaire of Big Bad Collars) and I got the idea for this several weeks ago, and with readily available models (i.e., our kids), we figured it would be a piece of cake, right? I mean, this is Arizona and we should have dry lake beds coming out of our ears … NOT! As it turns out, yes, we have many dry lake beds … right in the middle of suburbia with civilization always lurking on the outer edges of the scene. Sure, a little creative angling of the camera and Photoshop could fix that up, but we wanted it all … plus a cool place for the kids to explore as well.
To make a long story short, it eventually took a trip to the ranger station, several sessions of Googling, and finally a genius leap of inspiration by Sue to look up Spanish translations for the more commonsense words we had been searching on, like “salt flats” or “dry lake bed.” How she made this leap, I’ll never know, but she pulled out the word “playa” from all this and came up with Willcox Playa as our location. It pays to have smart friends! :-)
Following several trips by Sue to Goodwill to gather props, a 24-hour rain delay (as every mom knows, it only rains in Arizona when you have outdoor kids activities planned), and a session of packing the back of the van like a sardine can, we were off! The trip down took us many hours with food breaks, potty breaks, and stopping to ask for detailed directions, which involved such advice as “Just turn left at the power plant,” and “Pay close attention to the ground … you don’t wanna sink in.” That last one we almost did … yikes, no joke. In any case, we finally made it with only an hour or so of daylight left – the perfect time for photographs!
So here are some samples of the photos we took on our little adventure into dystopia. And as for a lesson from all of this? Persistence, smart friends, and a multilingual thesaurus can get you … er, nowhere … which, in this case, is exactly where we wanted to go! :-)