My featured photo session for October was an easy one for me to choose. October is perfect for the setting of an old abandoned building in a small somewhat ghost town like community. Anna and I drove around in the desert seeking out the best places to capture some nice portraits and images. I always love shooting with Anna because she has an adventurous and creative spirit like me so we always manage to find some great spots to work in.
Only an hour away from Las Vegas, the small community of Searchlight, Nevada makes a nice location to stop and try out some desert shooting alongside some relics of old mining artifacts. We randomly choose a side road that intersects off the main 95 highway and came across an abandoned old residence. Surrounded by the classic desert baron landscape of this part of the desert, this old well worn structure stuck out like it was calling for us to come explore inside it's once lived in contents.
We were careful to investigate our prospect of shooting in this well weathered dwelling. It was hard to tell the age of the home and the cause as to why it was totally left abandoned. Falling ceiling boards, very large protruding splinters and squeaky cracking floors kept us quite timid at first but as soon as we explored a little more deeply we were excited to see we would be able to play inside this old abandoned house, get creative and make some nice images. Old abandoned buildings have always been a favorite subject for my photography and for a great backdrop when working with models. I was beyond excited to find this gem of a place in Searchlight.
There appeared to be a large front porch attached to this home. It was perfect for getting some images of Anna placed at one end of this part of the building although being very careful she did not fall off of the edge. As I was photographing Anna on this part of the structure I noticed the home was actually on top of what appeared to be a wash. After I got home I examined the location more closely on Google Earth and could see the home was not on a wash at all. Made me wonder even more why this home was left empty. It had a nice floor plan and you can see that in recent months there had been a lot of activity for posing as a crash pad for people who seem to like to drink a lot of beer and eat lots of junk food.
It is hard to believe but the town of Searchlight had a larger population than Las Vegas at one time, when the gold rush hit the area in the late 1800's. In the early 1900's, over 7 million dollars in gold and other precious metals were extracted from this area. 7 million dollars back then? That must be equivalent to what the United Stated deficit is today! Unbelievable and unimaginable when you see the humble small little community it is today. There are rusted old mining material and machinery randomly spread out in this area. Interesting to see and think how thriving this place must have been at one time.
The dilapidation of the ceiling made an excellent backdrop and foreground for Anna. All of the textures and shadows in this home were ideal for photos. We had planned to take a couple of photos then be on our way but after checking the place out we wound up staying a couple of hours. It was well worth it and I had to wonder a couple of times if watching eyes were upon us. I felt, on more than one occasion, like someone (or something) was viewing our exploration. I suppose it is easy to feel creeped out in situations where you are crawling in and around an old abandoned building in an old once thriving gold rush town. Ghosts seem to like to hang out in these types of environments or at least I have heard this a time or two.
This home appeared to have two bedrooms and maybe an upstairs. We did not attempt to check out the upstairs. That part looked creepy and if there was a ghost or some remnants of a party person using this as a crash pad they might still be up there. I could see an old mattress on the second part of the house. The second part of the house might have been an attic of some sort and the ladder that ran it's way up might have just been placed there for people to crawl up and hang out and do whatever one might do in an old and deteriorating building.
I was so pleased with the images we were able to create here. I will be back to photograph more variations of this amazing gem of a place we stumbled upon in the desert of Searchlight. Hopefully the ghosts and party crash pad people will be vacated and I can have the place to my self again for a magical backdrop.