ORIGINALLY HAILING FROM Sydney, Australia, photographer George Byrne traveled extensively before finally settling in Los Angeles. The city became both his home and his subject (to the point of near-exclusivity, with rare exceptions made for Miami), and over the past decade he has developed a distinctive style and method, in which he digitally edits, alters, and blends photos into seamless, uncanny portmanteaus. The end result is a dreamlike series of bright, colorful locales that do not quite exist in the real world, appearing temporarily abandoned or forgotten, equal parts idyllic and abject.
THE STRETCH OF road between Goffs and Amboy, California, has been around for over a hundred years, and in that time it has been known by many names. It initially formed a part of the National Old Trails Road, a primitive, mostly unpaved cross-country route that predated the establishment of the US highway system. In the late 1920s it was incorporated into Route 66 and under this designation it served for decades as the main thoroughfare through the Mojave desert.
Phantom Architecture is a series focusing on vanished buildings, both in Berlin and further afield. In this special Palm Springs edition, guest contributor Jesse Simon chronicles the vanished buildings of Palm Springs, the Southern California vacation/retirement enclave that, despite its wealth, must occasionally give a structure back to the surrounding desert.
AT FIRST I didn’t realise the hotel was abandoned. It caught my eye while I was driving down South Palm Canyon, just another example of desert modernism. I decided to stop for a few pictures. It was only after I got out of the car that I realised there were chains across the driveway, and thick curtains covering the floor to ceiling windows of the main lobby.