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American Desert-Ed

Daniel Skwarna | United States

Jack Two Horses and Maggie Mae

Inspired by the Depression-era photography of Dorothea Lange and Walker Evans under the auspices of Roy Stryker's FSA, American Desert-Ed explores the desert community of Slab City, often referred to as the Last Free Place In America. It is both America the Great and the toxic end-product of American capitalism — those who couldn’t work and live within the system and those who outright rejected it.

Located a few miles from the dying Salton Sea, in one of the poorest counties in California, Slab City sits on the leftover infrastructure of Camp Dunlap, a WWII Marine base activated in 1942 as a training camp for action in North Africa.

Almost everyone that lives in this tiny swath of harsh Sonoran Desert in Southwestern California has been rejected in some way by society. They have experienced chronic homelessness, addiction, and mental illness for much of their lives. For most, they literally have no other place to go. There is a cruel cost to living free in such an inhospitable and often cruel environment. 


Daniel Skwarna


IG - @DanielSkwarna



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