Floating Desert, 2003 Archival Pigment Print

Floating Desert, 2003 Archival Pigment Print

Archival Pigment Print

Signed and numbered by the artist

Edition of 50

11X14", 16x20", 20x24" or 30x36"

    I have always been fascinated with the desert. I grew up in Southern California, and ever since I got my drivers license, I have loved to take road trips around the state. I especially love the unreal atmosphere of the Mojave Desert just a few hours outside of Los Angeles.
    When I got the assignment to photograph a story about meditation and mental health for the cover of Time Magazine, I immediately thought of the empty expanse of El Mirage dry lake bed. If the goal of meditation is to empty your mind, I figured my goal as a photographer would be to empty the image. I wanted to make a picture that felt like the ultimate embodiment of meditation.
    We asked Heather Graham to do the picture, and she was game, although her schedule was tight. She could only give us the morning. I called the editor at Time and said, “I have a great idea but we are going to need a helicopter.” Miraculously, the magazine agreed, and Heather was on board. This was back when magazines actually had money to spend on photo shoots, and it was great to have the editor on board with an expensive idea when if they had called another photographer the shot could have easily ended up in a studio.
    It is a lovely thing to whisk up to a photo shoot in a helicopter, and step off with a camera in hand, followed by a beautiful woman. I know fashion photographers get to experience this all the time, but it was a novelty to me. My assistants, who had driven up the night before and stayed in a motel, gave me the stink eye.
    We had built sort of a sawhorse that would disappear under Heather’s dress, and put a thin foam pad on it. I moved it around about four or five times until I settled on a backlit image, and then Heather laid back and did her best to look like she was floating. Within five minutes I had the picture I wanted.
This picture sticks with me because I think it transcended the original assignment and became a photograph that could mean different things to different viewers. It has always been one of my favorites, and I am excited to share it with people through this site.

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