Charlie Kinross: Ghost Towns and Drive-Ins

Saturday September 26, 2015 Written by Rory

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Melbourne photographer Charlie Kinross went to the U.S. in search of the America he knew from watching films and TV as a child. What he found, in the wastelands of Nevada, was something far more striking.

Of course he still encountered plenty of Americana on the nearly-3000-kilometre journey from California to Arizona – truck stops selling beef jerky, and diners serving endless filter coffee. But it was the more beaten-down scenes that grabbed Charlie’s attention.

First there was Tonopah, an old mining whose heyday was well and truly behind it. Kinross was stuck by the town’s abandoned motels and boarded-up diners, which abutted a few motels and small casinos that were still somehow in business.

Then there was the abandoned drive-in theatre in Yerlington, which he described as like coming across “a pair of perfectly ripped jeans in an op shop… too good to be true”. He tried to imagine people watching movies there in the middle of the desert. “What did they watch? When did it close? What did they play on closing night?”, he wondered. “I could imagine them building it,” Charlie says. “And the hopes that they had for it.”

These places may no longer exist in the way their founders planned for them to, but in a strange way, their dereliction has itself become as American as apple pie. Something Charlie’s photos capture perfectly.

You can check out more of Charlie’s photos here