Once the Holidays were over and done with, once and for all, I realized the snow on the ground was sticking around for a while so I decided it was time to hit the road for a few days and decided to head West. I wanted to find the most deserted road I could think of. Nevada's Highway 50 ("The Loneliest Road in America") immediately came to mind because I had driven all the way across to Reno and beyond three times in the past 8 years, but always on my way to meet up with a client in California. Never have I had the time to stop and shoot photos along the way. This time, I asked my assistant, Robb Reece, if he wanted to come with me and hunt down a few new and unusual photos. At the start of our trip I wanted to take Robb through Scipio, Utah to catch I-15 and button-hook over to Hwy 50. I knew Robb would love Scipio because of it's "texture" which is always a lure for us button-pushers. Especially me.
This is where I happened on to Gary Hudson.
When we found a logical place to pull the truck over and Robb stepped out and started zinning on all of the Americana abounding around him, I plodded over to what appeared to be a small establishment that was actually open for business. I poked my nose inside and found Gary coming out of the back of the shop drying his hands on a dish towel. We immediately started talking and I asked him if anyone in town would mind if we wandered around a poached a few photos. Gary informed me that there would be no problem with that because he owned everything...at least along the main street. I love knowing about people and started to probe him with questions. I learned that he a spent a good part of his life in the Yukon Territory, mining silver and gold. Because I had photographed the old gas station up the street on one of my previous trips and I was particularly interested in what he knew about it...
turns out he owns that too.
I can't speak for all photographers, but I'm pretty sure that most of us love wandering around and shooting this kind of timeless stuff. When Gary arrived in Scipio 11 years earlier, he bought up a bunch of the property with the intention of making sure that it stayed "the same". As I wandered around looking for something interesting to capture I started wondering, as I so often do, about the generations of people that had lived there and what Scipio was like in it's heyday. At it's zenith. Mostly a ranching community, because, as Gary told me, it was too cold in the winter to farm.
Guess that makes sense.
There was a sort of purity about the place. No trash. No plastic tarps. Nothing too give away the fact that it was "when it was". Now...2014. Usually when shooting around an old town's ruins I am always plagued by artifacts that give the current date away. But somehow, Scipio, or at least Gary's Scipio, has been frozen in about 1960. I can't really explain it other than that was where it seemed that things had stopped. I don't know the year of this school bus, but once it was ready to be retired, this is where it was laid to rest. And it seemingly hasn't been bothered since.
The house that this old gate belonged to was no longer there, and I wondered what it must have been like. Who had lived there. What their lives were like. Their big days and their small days. I don't know it for a fact, but think that in it's prime, Scipio was a thriving Mormon town with an interlocked and intertwined Mormon community. This gate slammed open and slammed shut whenever the kids came home from school and Mom went out to get the mail. And what was in the mail.
I could easily go on.
Absolutely void of litter and preserved as if frozen in time. Gary would like to keep it this way. really didn't understand what he meant by this when he first said it, but once I started looking around, I was able to see what his vision was. Conspicuous in its simplicity. Beautiful in its silence.