Arizona: Feast for the Senses

for National Geographic Traveler

In the western United States, "backroads" disappear. Often there is a singular interstate connecting one place to another. There is no way to get lost, or hide. Some of these roads are so long and empty the government has permitted people to build lodges within the boundaries of the National Forest. Without these respites, drivers would have 180 miles between signs of civilization.

It is large, empty, and diverse. This story sent me to every corner of Arizona, from the Navajo Nation to the U.S. - Mexico border. From a Japanese immigrant making sake in his garage, to a 85-year-old bartender who has been slinging drinks at the same hotel for 59 years. I photographed ancient pueblos and modern hotels, a collage of petroglyphs and innumerous turquoise rings, aiming to capture the history and culture of this land. I was repeatedly taken aback by the silence of the desert and the visual drama of red rock. With the glassy blue sky and the sharp orange of the earth, I always felt rich in color.

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