Highway 395 is stretches a considerable distance of California that borders the Sierra Nevada mountains. Rina Shapira has spent years traveling this highway. The area of land around the 365 has seen better days, riddled with abandoned homes dating back to the gold rush. Today, these abandoned structures are becoming one with the landscape, and as Rina notes, they are also filled with the ghosts of California history. And it’s those ghosts that her constructed realities examine.
This is what Rina says about the work:
"In the photographic series “The Ghosts of 395” I document abandoned dwellings along California State Route 395 and its access route from Los Angeles – Route 14, and bring back the spirits of their long-gone inhabitants.
I have been traveling the Eastern route from Los Angeles to the Sierra Nevada’s since the mid 70s. In my haste to reach one destination or another to the North, I whiz through the desolate Mojave Desert and the dry Owens River Valley, and the handful of established towns hugging the highway. I also zoom past old, abandoned and dilapidated dwellings strewn on and off the road, evidence to attempts of enterprising individuals or hardy adventurers to set roots in this unforgiving land.
Without fail, one of us fellow travelers would chime into the hum of the tires on the road: “Who in their right mind put up a home in this parched wilderness? Where did they come from? Why? When? And what made them leave?” These questions would hang unanswered in the void of our speeding car.
On a recent trip, I chose to stop at one of these abandoned structures, give a little attention to a piece of human history, and let my imagination re-create the past. Approaching the crumbling building evoked a feeling one gets walking in a cemetery, like stepping into a realm of untold stories, of whispering ghosts. Fragments of past lives littered the grounds, old cans, wires, shards of broken bottles of long ago, a doll’s arm; few clues of a life that was.
Each time I travel this route I dedicate myself to revive another story."