Photographing the eerie forgotten places of the Californian desert
Ed Freeman’s desire to hit the open road on a creative hunt has always been a deep-seated desire.
Having started his career in the music industry performing as a folk guitarist, Freeman went quite extraordinarily went on to work as a road manager for the Beatles. He is now a fine art photographer focusing on the exploration of identity, architecture and figurative styles. Some of which can be seen in his project ‘Desert Realty’.
Freeman describes this work as a “lie”, but a lie about the truth. He compares this to lie that parents tell to their children about Santa Claus. He believes that generations of American’s have been fed some lie regarding the dream of a better future.
What makes his images a ‘lie’ is that they have been digitally altered to remove ‘daily life’, blue skies and the addition of clouds and mountains where there might have been none. Freeman takes the colour from his images and replaces them with computer-generated gradients.
His focus seems to be on various buildings of disrepair such as motels, sheds, houses and others that have been left to rot in the desert. The buildings that people seem to pass by as they drive from point A to point B. Freeman has captured these places, these ‘polluted lands’, and manipulated them to bring love and a new lease of life to the forgotten locations.
“How many KFCs have you seen? How many freeway overpasses have you seen? You just get barraged with all these visual pieces every second,” Freeman once said of his work in an interview with Curbed. “You see the building, but you see a thousand other things at the same time,” he added.
“The minute there’s a human in the picture, you look at the human. The minute there’s any action in the picture, you look at the action. But I wanted you to look at the building.”
He continued: “I really love the desert: it’s a place of independence and freedom, and during the winter the weather is beautiful. It’s incredibly peaceful and quiet: you can drive a hundred miles and not see a single person”