The post about the Goodyear Ocotillo Cemetery in Chandler, Arizona brought some correspondence from Arizona photographer M. Jason Massey. He’d photographed the cemetery in 2000, before it was at the center of a housing development, before it was walled and tidied. He’s kindly letting me share his photos and his description with you.
“These pictures show all the white crosses that where there. And the owls, the place was swarming with owls. When I went back there last month I couldn’t find a single owl. I’m sure when the houses were being built those birds got the heck out of there.
Today, as you saw for yourself, the tumbleweeds are still gone and the grounds are raked and kept tidy, but most of those white crosses are gone. I don’t think I saw a quarter of those crosses I saw just ten years earlier.”
“I’m not sure how I feel about trying to restore or conserve places like this. This cemetery is exposed to extreme temperatures and exposed to the elements. When you are going up against Mother Nature, you are usually fighting a losing battle. Like my comments on your blog, that’s why I love photography, if we can get to these sites before they’re gone, we can preserve them in photographs for the next generations. I know it’s not the same as the real thing, but as this world moves closer to the virtual world, it might be the best we can hope for.”