Cool Water, Los Angeles, California from Western Waters, 2002
Gelatin silver print, 6" x 7"
Western Waters addresses the commodification of nature, water as consumer product, and human desire - a never-ending thirst.
I am fascinated by the necessity and absurdity of these stores, and the way these venues have come to represent the source of a natural experience. Of course, these stores are merely elements of entrepreneurial enterprise - constructed sites to provide the consumer with the most essential requirement for life and survival.
The success of these stores is based on consumers’ fear that their tap water is not safe to drink and on providing an alternative to bottled water. Today, plastic bottles have replaced earthen vessels, and to fetch our water, we travel in polluting automobiles to and from this fabricated representation of a river, well, or spring.
I have photographed nearly 200 locations in California, Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico. These images will serve in the future as a historical document, either registering a fleeting fad or laying the foundation of what will become commonplace in our society.