March 08, 2014 through April 08, 2014
Jody Miller - “Otherworld: The Salton Sea”
Otherworld: The Salton Sea
Opening Reception Saturday, March 8, 2014, 6-9pm
“A mistake. That’s what the Salton Sea is to most Californians. An early 20th century dam that held back the Colorado River failed in 1904 and the ensuing flood created the current sea, filling an ancient dry lake bed near the Mexican border in the southeastern corner of California. At 234 feet below sea level, it reaches twenty miles across and and thirty miles long. From a distance, it is a beautiful sight.
In the years after the flood, there was a short heyday of recreational use and development during the 1950s and 1960s, due to its proximity to Palm Springs. It became a getaway for boating and night clubbing, and real estate around the sea was selling fast. There are many photos and films of happy boaters and sunbathers lounging on the sea shore. But that all started to change as evaporation and increased salinity started to kill off fish by the millions, creating a toxic stench that sent most people running. The area became a wasteland practically overnight. By the 1970s, only vultures could be seen wandering around the empty marinas at the shoreline.
Every summer, algae bloom and increased salinity kill off fish by the millions and on several occasions thousands of sea birds have also died off unexpectedly as a result of eating contaminated dead fish. The Colorado River flows northward into the Sea from Mexico and agricultural runoff combined with seasonal rains replenish the Sea somewhat, but the yearly inflow cannot keep up with the desert evaporation. The shoreline of the Sea has been receding at a record rate of over 5 feet per year. Some say within twenty years the Sea will dry up completely, leaving a toxic dust bowl that will blow into populated areas, and will almost certainly annihilate an important habitat for the hundreds of species of birds, many endangered, that winter over here every year.
There have been some limited federal efforts to save the the Sea, and efforts made to desalinate some of the water for agriculture, but there is public resistance fueled by those who view the Sea as just an ugly wasteland, so it follows that there is no will to put forth the money and persistence that will be necessary to revive it.
My experience of the Sea has been personally overwhelming. I’ve been making visits to the Sea for the last ten years now. I see it as an area of great distress but also great beauty and life that is worth the effort and expense of preservation. With these photographs I hope to convey some of that wonder and reverence I feel for both the majesty and melancholy of this unique corner of the desert, and to reaffirm the pressing need to restore and protect this singular and spectacular inland Sea. ~ Jody Miller
Jody Miller has kept Astoria as her beloved part time home since 2006, sharing her time between Astoria and Los Angeles, where she makes a living as an animator for the ABC television network. The serenity and beauty of Astoria and the North Coast seduced her the minute she first saw it, and that hasn’t waned in the years since. This area has inspired much of her landscape and night photography during the last eight years. The North Coast provides a welcome counterpoint to the busy, full, and hectic pace of her life in LA, 120 miles from the Salton Sea.
Jody Miller’s Bio
Jody Miller’s print are available in many sizes as bare prints, matted prints, and framed prints.
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