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Arts and Entertainment

Haunting Photos Of 'Dead Man's Curve' Vehicle Graveyard

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The notorious "Dead Man's Curve" along L.A.'s Mulholland Highway has seen its share of vehicle accidents. Earlier this year a crash at the "blind" curve in Mulholland Valley involving a motorcyclist and two bicyclists was caught on video. L.A.-based photographer Jason Knight is bringing a new view of the dangerous stretch of roadway to light: Its chilling vehicle graveyard. Here's what he has to say about the abandoned, rusting cars victimized by the turn:

I was intrigued by legends of cars left to decay, dotting the hillsides below Mulholland Drive. The legends may have been true, but no one had taken the time to photograph these cars as far as I could tell. I did some research in order to find the most likely spot to discover if the rumors were true. These ruins proved a little more difficult to discover than I had originally expected. As a result, I found myself proceeding in increasingly random patterns, grabbing at roots, close to tumbling down the hillside like the cars I was hunting. After one near fall, I looked up and saw a color that didn't quite fit with the greens and browns of the hillside. It was a little off. A rust color. It was the first of the car wrecks that I would find. Judging from the lack of trees above it, it looked like it had barrel-rolled down the hillside. And it had been here for a while, I think. There was no leather interior, no plastic, no upholstery. Just the red, rusted metal and the shoots growing out of a long-ago crushed tree that still managed to survive and flourish.

I was on one bank of a hairpin turn, and just the one car was there. I crossed to the other side and climbed up the creek that ran down that canyon, and I was astonished at what I found.

First, a disintegrating section of crankshaft, half-buried in the creek, then big sections of plastic bumper, semi-buried in the walls of the narrow canyon and in the creek bed. And when I crested the next rise, I saw entire cars. Some were almost completely buried. Some were totally exposed. I saw at least seven that were mostly visible. I wondered how many more were buried, and in one section of debris, there were three cars, stacked haphazardly on top of each other. One car had a splintered loop of cable tied to its bumper.

A friend later told me that the city had tried and failed to pull some of these cars out of the canyon. With the expense, lack of success, and lack of outcry, they apparently gave up. I understood what he meant. Unreasonable expense is an unexpected, but grand protector of modern ruins.

Jason Knight studied psychology at the University of Utah and CSU Long Beach, where he developed an interest in ethnography and the forgotten consequences of consumerism. His explorations of modern ruins have included journeys to abandoned amusement parks, derelict temples, and hidden car wrecks. His work has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, Business Insider, Daily Mail, Picture Professional Magazine, Black Clock Magazine, and Boing Boing.

LAist's Lauren Lloyd contributed to this report.