Return To America's Most Scenic Junkyard

For the past few years, photographer Troy Paiva has shot the Pearsonville junkyard in the Mojave Desert at night, using long exposures, flashlights and colored spotlights to "reanimate" piles of old American iron.

When we last caught up with Paiva, there were concerns that the Pearsonville junkyard could be scoured clean, thanks to a ravenous world appetite for recycled metals. But there are apparently benefits to a global recession.


Paiva, who runs the Lost America site, now offers classes at the junkyard in night time photography, and keeps a healthy Flickr flow of new shots. These are some recent additions.

"America is all about speed and ‘the new' so we're always replacing things that don't really need replacing," Paiva said in a 2008 interview. "It's interesting how the places and objects I find have changed over the years. Twenty years ago it was all about the debris left behind by the finned atomic-age, but now the focus has shifted to the debris of the '70s and '80s: junkyard minivans and wide-body airliners are replacing the big-finned station wagons and 707s.


"Who knows where it's headed? Surely we're into another period of contraction in the West as gas tops $4 a gallon, which only means junkyards filled with giant SUVs and more abandonments to explore, but I have no idea where it will ultimately end up."


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