This photograph was years in the making, and is probably the most “photographer’s-photograph” in the body of work. Having said that, I think it’s one of the most dramatic images I’ve ever made.
The image is a more-or-less faithful imitation of a photo made by Timothy O’ Sullivan on the Wheeler Survey in 1967 – one of my all-time favorite images.
I spent years tromping around 4x4 dirt roads in the Nevada desert looking for this site and failing over and over; one time around 7 years ago I was convinced I’d found it after a 3 mile hike from my truck. I then realized that the sun had gone down and I had to follow the north star to find my way back to the truck. Eventually, photographer Mark Klett – another O’Sullivan nerd - generously shared it’s location with me. But even with the coordinates, it took a few tries to get there.
And an extreme-nerd thing: in making this photograph I realized that the original photo from the 19th Century is titled incorrectly – the view from this vantage point faces southwest, not east. -Trevor Paglen