Several months ago the decision was made to develop a limited edition series of prints to accompany the release of the next book, Ghost Towns of Route 66. As Bob Lile was carrying our prints through his gallery at Sunset Galleries in Amarillo the first step was negotiation to continue that relationship.
Our plans are to use the international Route 66 festival scheduled for next June in Amarillo as the venue for introducing the book so unveiling the prints at the same time and in the same location seems a logical decision. As an added bonus we hope to further promote Bob, his gallery, his work, and Sunset galleries.
All of this has led to the next stage in my ongoing education, the manipulation of photographic images. The goal here is create images that set the mood and capture the essence of ghost towns on Route 66.

Endee, New mexico

The first endeavor was this photo of Endee. I was impressed with the initial effort but feel it failed to capture the desired affect.
It didn’t come out bad but it missed the mark. The sky appears almost Martian in nature.
As I was hoping for haunting or ghostly instead another idea came to mind. The line of thought was that perhaps if I worked from the negative instead of the photo, darkened the background selectively added tinting, and a few highlights, and the subject was a bit less comedic in nature, I might be able to capture the essence a bit better.
The result was this image of the Painted Desert Trading Post. Even on a bright sunny day there is something forlorn and haunting about this place that is oddly comforting as well.

Painted Desert Trading Post, a different

I wasn’t overly satisfied with this one either. It appeared to dark, to oppressive.
Still, the overall affect was much closer to what I had in the minds eye. So, I browsed through the image files to find another location
I felt the idea of working from the negative was the correct one but before proceeding a suitable subject was needed. I played with images of Ludlow and Goffs, Oatman and Afton, Foss and Glenrio before deciding to try working with a shot of the Road Runner Retreat ruins near Amboy in California taken last January.
Again, the results were close but not quite what was envisioned. Again, I felt the subject itself was the primary issue.
The old truck stop just didn’t quite bridge the gap between the past and present. The ruins seem to modern, to sterile, almost generic in nature.

A sepia toned negative of the Road Runner Retreat.

The landscape and other details were close. So I again turned to the photo files for a subject.
This time I selected an old auto court in New Mexico. There was a timelessness about the architecture that captured the idea of bridging the past and present. There were hints of the modern that piqued the imagination. All that was needed was to turn the lights on in rooms darkened for more than a half century and illuminate the parking lot and debris that hinted of abandonment being reclaimed by nature.

Ghosts of a lost highway in New Mexico.

Do you ideas or suggestions? I would be appreciative of your sharing them and am curious as to your thoughts on this type of manipulated imagery.

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