The Hype

Digital SLR Magazine Feature

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Darwin California Ghost Town

From high-end cars to urban decay – commercial photographer Tim Wallace explores a near ghost town in California, with stunning results

Tim Wallace is best known for his carefully crafted and beautifully lit images of immaculate Jaguar and Aston Martin prestige cars, however a recent trip to the USA saw him and partner Jessica Gremaud shooting something less glossy and more on the gritty side – an old mining town in Death Valley. “Death Valley has always held a fascination for me,” Tim told Digital SLR Photography.

“Before setting out we did a little research, as all good photographers do, and we noted a small village just off the main road that looked like it could be a good location for some interesting shots.”

The small town of Darwin was established in 1874 to serve the nearby mines, although what was once a bustling community is home to but a few now, as Tim explains. “In its heyday, Darwin was buzzing with saloon bars, general stores and brothels.

"I've heard that when you turn professional, you lose the love for photography as a hobby. I very much disagree..."

Like many other ghost towns across the US, when the industry died, life in the town disappeared. However, in Darwin, a small community of artists, and those preferring life in the wilderness, remains. There are no stores to buy anything and nowhere to stay – the nearest supermarket is 90 miles away.”
Tim and Jessica decided to enjoy some downtime and spent a day photographing the fascinating town, coming away with some amazing images that convey the bleak and gritty nature of this forgotten town; a drastic contrast to Tim's usual subjects. “I’ve heard that when you turn professional, you lose the love for photography as a hobby. I very much disagree – this type of diverse personal work allows me to still enjoy shooting stuff for myself. Our main tool for these images was the excellent lightweight Fujifilm X-Pro1 and a 14mm lens. I love this little camera – it's a favourite of mine to travel with. It’s easy to use and the quality of what such a little camera can produce is amazing. With these types of images I enjoy using black & white – I love to indulge in this style whenever I can.”

Project Darwin
Online dedicated portfolio of the Darwin work is available to view here