In the spring of 2011, I concluded a portrait project photographing residents, visitors, workers, scientists, park rangers and environmentalists who work and/or live at the Salton Sea.
I interviewed them regarding their personal backgrounds, stories and hopes for the future of the Salton Sea—as well as their fears. They shared their stories and knowledge and gave the reader an idea of the cultural, historical, environmental and natural aspects of this area.
This became a book, which was published in September 2012 by Salton Sink Press, entitled Portraits and Voices of the Salton Sea.
The idea was to create a photographic documentary that focuses on those who will be affected most by the declining water levels, and gives them a platform to speak out. I also spoke with those involved in the restoration to help inform the reader of what’s involved, as education is key to leading others to learn about conservation.
Some in the media still portray the Salton Sea in a very negative light, and a lot of people, even in California, still aren’t aware of its existence. After hearing from all of the people I interviewed, one gets a more-complete picture of the Salton Sea, and why it is so valuable, not only to this area, but beyond the Colorado Basin.
While that part of the project is done, as the book has been published, I would like to continue receiving the input of others who enjoy the Salton Sea, have meaningful ideas, and want to share personal stories, memories and photographs, through thesaltonseaspeaks.blogspot.com.
The aim is to show that people do not want the Salton Sea to dry up, as it will spell disaster, not just at the Salton Sea, but also throughout surrounding areas. The most recent “Big Stench” went as far as Los Angeles. The Salton Sea is not located in a bubble. Its drying up will affect people far and wide in Southern California and Arizona. These people all have a connection with the largest lake in California.
I am NOT looking for comments like, “The Salton Sea stinks; what a waste,” or, “It’s a man-made mistake and a cesspool and deserves to die.” These have been spouted out over and over again, and have become tiresome. These comments will not be published onto the blog.
Please, send me your stories, photographs, recollections, ideas, comments and histories. These can be in form of pictures, text, links, YouTube videos, news articles or anything or else of note!
I will publish as much as possible on thesaltonseaspeaks.blogspot.com, as it is meant to be a space for people to speak out.
Photographs and quotes from the book will be featured at an upcoming exhibition at the Palm Desert Community Gallery as part of a three-person show entitled Portraits of the Desert, which opens Thursday, Dec. 6, and runs through Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013. An opening reception takes place from 5:30 to 7 p.m., Monday, Dec. 10.
The gallery is located at 73-510 Fred Waring Drive in Palm Desert, and is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. For more info on the gallery, call (760) 346-0611, ext. 664, or visit www.palmdesertart.org.
I look forward to reading your stories and seeing your photos—and perhaps seeing you at the opening of the upcoming exhibition!
Below: “Steve Johnson,” by Christina Lange