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Stanley Paul

Days Gone Past

My artsy life began here with rolling tumbleweeds and rotting ... oh, wait, that's just how "ghost towns" are depicted in the movies.  I forked over thirty bucks at a pawn shop for my first camera - a crappy, well-worn, but fully-broken-in K1000.  From this classic beast my love for all these places grew obsessively.  It was then that I realized that not all "ghost towns"  were truly dead.  Rather than offend, I decided to  trend ...  to places that I call "Days Gone Past."

Some places just don't know how to die, but when they do they motivate and inspire.  These places are best remembered for one reason or another.  Each one is different, but they all have one thing in common.  These places aren't built not by wood, brick, or mortar, but by stories  grounded on trial-and-error, temptation, and tenacity.    I feel equally at home shooting spooky ruins at sunset as I do a sunrise seven miles in the backcountry.  This gallery is a bit different from my regular shoots and one that holds a special place in my heart.

Bodie Collection: 1997-2010

This quote circa 1860 described best ...

"Goodbye God.  We're going to Bodie."

To this day, the identity of this little girl is unknown, quite fitting for a town rife with stories. Out of all places dying and dilapidated, it was  the old mining camp of Bodie, California that kickstarted my journey behind the camera at the ripe old age of 14.   As  a budding artist and lover of history, I found the whole thing fascinating - a  camp  like  and unlike many  in the Old West, alone in virtual lawlessness on a high desert basin at 8,400 feet.  Use that as a movie tagline!  The deadly elements kept its people from  even the most  basic of conveniences and necessities, such as food, clean water, and shelter.  This was a place you hoped you didn't find yourself.

After the last person left in 1941, Bodie was abandoned for  thirty-odd  years before the State of California decided to preserve it in a state of "arrested decay" as a state historic park.  Today with its myriad of sunbaked wooden structures, Bodie is a mere shadow of its former self.  You  don't have to try to find something incredibly  awesome to shoot here.

The Bodie of today  comprises the  perfect depiction of an American West  "ghost town" and you don't have to look far and wide for a variety of compelling compositions and wide-scape scenes.   While I do enjoy  a  yummy wide scape of Bodie any day, my Bodie Collection  showcases  the simpler monochromatic pieces of the Bodie puzzle that I  fell in love with so many years ago -  a  concept that I created and then titled "Bodie: Through My Window."   You won't find your typical  landscapes  of Bodie here, but  you will find  a much more simpler take on this fascinating  place!

14-year Paul, here's to you. Keep it up, kid.