Ewan Telford

Ewan Telford was born in Edinburgh, Scotland and first began working in New York as a storyboard artist and art director after receiving his MA from the University of Bristol. He is an award-winning writer and director of music videos and films. Having enjoyed photography as a hobby when younger, it is only in the last couple of years that he has taken it up more seriously. Currently Ewan lives in sunny Los Angeles. Today we share his body of work, Rock Salt.

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Rock Salt

Trona is a mining town in the Mojave Desert near Death Valley, California. The town receives three inches of rainfall a year and averages a high of 106°F during the summer.

An urban experiment, Trona was established in 1914 by American Trona Corp to house a workforce extracting borax and soda ash from Searles Dry Lake. ATC wholly owned and operated the town, which grew into a community of 7000; it built housing and schools, grocery shops, dance halls, cinemas, a lido and a golf course. ATC payed its employees in part in its own currency (company scrip) redeemable solely at company owned facilities.

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Labour disputes and strikes in 1970 and 1981 led to civil unrest, arson and bombings. By the mid-80s, over 75% of the workforce had been fired or made redundant, whilst remaining non-union became a condition of employment. Decline followed; houses, now employee-owned, were abandoned, shops and facilities shuttered.


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Trona’s population today is 1100 and falling. Whilst the processing plants still produce two million tons of industrial minerals a year, Trona is slowly dissolving back into the desert.

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To view more of Ewan’s work, please visit his website.