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Cool Photos: Forgotten Buildings In Dreamy, Desert Landscapes

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Photographer Ed Freeman didn't initially set out to shoot dilapidated and forgotten buildings in the California desert that would later become part of his book, Desert Realty.

His original plan was to take snapshots of landscapes out in areas like the Salton Sea and Mojave, as well as small towns like Trona and Brawley. However, because the best times to snap pictures of landscapes in the desert are during the morning or around sunset, Freeman, 72, was left with little to do during the day while he waited around. So, he started driving around and taking photos of these derelict trailers, churches and gas stations in the towns that no one "in their right minds would go to for a reason" because they're "not exactly touristy spots," he told LAist.

In his photos that he shot from 1997 to 2000, he kept the buildings intact as they appeared the way he shot them. However, he would later alter other aspects of those photos, such as remove the surroundings—like people, other buildings and junk. Then he would slap the building on a different background and sky, but one that would have a similar mountain range as that area would have.

"What I wanted people to do was pay attention to the buildings," Freeman said. "I wanted them to see the buildings."

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Although he would return to the same places, the buildings were usually never the same afterwards; they would be burned down, torn up or had simply vanished. One of his favorite photos he took in this project was of the rainbow-striped trailer in Salton City. When he first photographed it, there were children playing all around it. He remembered it as "the happiest trailer on earth." He had taken a small camera with him then and felt he could take a better snapshot of it with a bigger camera. However, when he returned two months later, the trailer was deserted and the kids were gone. He no longer thought it felt happy anymore and decided to use the original photo he had taken.

In addition to buildings and landscapes, Freeman also loves shooting abstract and travel photography. Prior to being a photographer, he was a musician and record producer. He said producing Don McLean's American Pie in the early 1970s was his Heisman Trophy.

[h/t Curbed LA]