PLEASE NOTE: This series was photographed with a toy camera that uses film....2-1/4" x 2-1/4" square (120) film to be exact. But, because it has a cheap plastic lens, the focus is inconsistent, it distorts the image, it produces a vignette around the perimeter of the image and, even if the body is taped up, it can still produce light leaks that reduces contrast. However, all of these "negative" attributes were exactly what I was looking for to give this series the dream like quality it has. One more thing, these images are meant to be viewed consecutively and as a collection.
It reminded me of when I was a kid on a cross country trip with the family when, all of a sudden, I'm jostled awake from a nap as the car slows down to make a leisurely turn into what appears to be a parking lot....the gravel crunching like popcorn beneath the tires. Though my head still rests on the warm seat, I'm able to glance out of a window and catch a glimpse of a sign or two....which doesn't really tell me much.... though I think we could pulling into a motel. As the car stops and dad and mom head into the office, I decide to get out and wander around a bit. I'm still a bit groggy and in fact not even sure if it's even morning or evening, but right off the bat I can tell that it's....a little different here.
Besides looking rundown and a bit dented here and there, there doesn't seem to be anyone else around. The pool is overgrown and has no water in it and, even though this place was built in the early fifties, there are now a bunch of Eastern style deity statues everywhere and this provides for a very strange scene. For instance, there's a cement goddess head perched on a cement block that's sitting on a tattered and chipped, cement yard fountain that's sitting in the middle of a dried up, cement, fish pond with broken, you guessed it....cement-fish in it. Besides that, the fish pond and deity head are surrounded by
statues of adoring, plaster nymphettes...but, some have their heads broken off.
So, after a while I'm starting to think that maybe I'm still asleep and just
having a weird dream or something. However, come to find out, I'd simply
stumbled across the Famoso Inn Motel located near the town of Famoso,
California....on State Hiway 99 about 25 miles north of Bakersfield.
I did this work back in 2002 and, unfortunately, the goddess head and
nymphettes are gone now, as is that great old, fifites-style motel sign. But,
the pool is still empty and as always you can still stay the night in a room cleverly
decorated like the nineteen-sixties. (That's because....it was decorated in the sixties
and has never been updated since.) Don't expect any amenities either, and if one of the older Chinese owners catches you wandering around in the closed off pool area don't be surprised if they yell at you to "KEEP OUT....just like sign say. No take picture. What? You no read?" (Please don't think that because I'm using pigin english here that I'm being racist either. I'm simply repeating what I heard them say to....uhhhh....you know somebody
that was...uhhhhh, you know...pokin' round there trying to take pictures. Okay?)