From the graduate portfolio entitled, At a Loss, by photographer Julie Gautier-Downes.
Shot in the ghost towns of “Wonder Valley” in the Mojave Desert, Julie effectively portrays an amalgamation of the themes of isolation, solitude, loss, nostalgia, and elemental impressions of people - their leftovers. Along with causing the viewer to speculate about the lifestyles of the people who once lived in these homes, the skillful composition of the photos successfully causes the viewer to question themselves, evoking the viewer’s subconscious which allows them to crate a personal connection with objects in the photographed scenes.
The only clues about the people who once inhabited “Wonder Valley” are left in objects at their homes, which have been abandoned for long periods of time and are deteriorating. Despite the rubble and the furniture which has begun to fade with time, there lies an element more poignant than that of abandonment- which alone is superficial. The matter in which the abandoned spaces have decomposed over time, and why they have in such a particular way, is a marvel within itself.
At A Loss, comes out of these experiences. The feelings I had of dislocation, my fear of abandonment and the lack of control I had. The objects in the space are surrogates for the objects that I misplaced or lost. They also serve to answer the questions I have about what happened to the missing people who once inhabited these abandoned homes. This work is about struggling to make connections with people who’ve left, but also reveling in the sublime beauty that I notice in the way these spaces have fallen apart.