Noah Purifoy

After shooting most of the day in the Joshua Tree National Park, we stopped by the Joshua Tree Inn (where Gram Parsons died) and chatted with a couple of people working there. We were on our way to shoot the windmills at sundown but the girl suggested we take a quick side trip (only a few miles away) to see this outdoor sculptor's works. She said he'd just been exhibited at LACMA and it wasn't far so we'd be able make it down to the lower desert by sunset.

It was about 10 miles in the opposite direction but the day was based on 'go with the flow' so I gunned it to the Noah Purifoy Outdoor Desert Museum. In the middle of nowhere. There was no one around, other than some kids with their parents checking out some crazy sculptures. Who was this Noah guy? Was he living in the old trailer on the edge of the 'museum'? 

We went through as much of the 'museum' we could in our time allotted. The more we saw, the more intrigued we were. We took pictures of Noah's works. I was attacked by a cactus I bushed by and had to slide my hand down my jeans to pull out the seven needles speared in my thigh (I found an eighth one when we got back to Palm Springs). We wanted to stay longer but we had to go.

Here is one of my shots of Noah Purifoy's sculptures.


After I chose to post this photograph I looked up Noah Purifoy I was ashamed of myself because I had no idea who he was. I say 'was' because he passed away in 2004 at the age of 86. If I had known about him I would have sought him out during the last fifteen years of his life when he was creating these works in the desert. I highly recommend that you read the Los Angeles Times obituary to learn about the amazing life of artist Noah Purifoy.

Kristyn, my shooting partner on this adventure, took my favorite photograph of the day (as in I wished it was mine) of the gallows mentioned in the LA Times article. The photo is even more poignant now that I know it's meaning and remained unfinished due to his death. I'm waiting to get permission from Kristyn to post it.