Roderik Henderson – Our life in a town of ghosts
“From 1998 on, I roamed the American Southwest for years, together with my wife Tanja. Living in a beaten up jeep wagoneer and a small argosy travel trailer we explored the desert, searching for the lucidity of naked rock, burning sand and roaring silence. No thoughts, no dreams, no ambitions – only absolute, sublime nothingness. Salt flats and lava fields were what we called home.
But soon my naive search turned into a photographic inventory of traces of recent human activity in the deserts of Nevada, California, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona and West Texas. A dusty trip through a scorched land of super malls, nuclear fall out, ground zeros and unfriendly skies. The halo of modern times arose at the horizon as a frightening fata morgana at every turn.
At White Sands Missile range, New Mexico, we witnessed an Inter Continental Ballistic Missile swirl up the sky, heading for a virtual enemy in Wyoming, with the apparent trivial pettiness of a smoke ring from a cigarette. I went to see and photograph the Department of Energy’s Nevada Test Site, about 85 miles Northwest of Las Vegas, where nuclear weaponry of world’s most powerful superpower has been experimentally blasted to smithereens until the nineties, transforming the landscape into the cratered surface of a faraway planet.
Then, Tanja got pregnant.”