Melted Sheet Metal

Near Baker, CA (Artist Statement)

Melted Sheet Metal: Near Baker, CA, USA (2008) - Abstract photograph of white paint forming facinating shapes, cracking and peeling from a shiny piece of twisted sheet metal

I found these twisted remains of a semi trailer in an informal vehicle dump by a tiny California highway town, where I had come for weekly supplies after taking photos in a nearby nature preserve. I found the town like most that exist for the road – noisy, rejected, with hospitals and graveyards for cars but none for people.

The trailer had been badly crashed; its sides had collapsed and folded under some terrific weight, and the front portion seemed to have been burnt by the truck's fuel. The metal had melted and folded, the paint cracked and swirled in alarming patterns. In places the exposed metal was black; in others it was shiny and new, like chrome. Some kind of black fluid had leaked from the trailer's rivets.

I composed this photograph carefully around the three rivets at the bottom to anchor the chaotic clouds of paint and soot. I like how it all looks like a shoreline: the cracked mud, the lapping water, the swirling early morning mist.

The truck's cab was nowhere to be seen. I have no idea what might have happened to the driver.

— Melted Sheet Metal: Near Baker, CA, USA (2008)

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© Mark Raymond Mason

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