Aya Okawa

Photographer, Visual Anthropologist
Gold Rush Ghost Town
Location: San Francisco, California.
Nationality: American
Biography: Aya Okawa is an award-winning aerial and environmental photographer and visual anthropologist who enjoys shooting landscape transformation, abstract patterns, and documenting the interaction of natural and human systems. Aya's work has been... MORE
Public Story
Gold Rush Ghost Town
Copyright Aya Okawa 2023
Date of Work Dec 1969 - Dec 1969
Updated Jan 2022
Location bridgeport, ca
Topics Culture, Editorial, Essays, Fine Art, Historical, History, Iconic places, Photography
Series of photos documenting the interiors and exteriors of Bodie, a Gold Rush-era town that was abandoned with the mining operation failed to discover quantities of gold and the town became unsustainable.
Bodie, California is a now-abandoned mining town in California's Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains. It was founded initially as a gold mining camp in the mid-1850's when the Gold Rush drew optimistic prospectors to California from around the world, and had its peak in the 1880's. The town started to decline in the 1890's, and was first referred to as a 'ghost town' in 1915, though there were still residents living there. At the time of shooting these photos, a number of the houses displayed calendars on the walls from the early 1900's.

Now, the site is monitored by the California State Park service to protect the historical buildings from looters. They preserve it in a state of 'arrested decay' - so the items are not moved, and the dust is left in tact - built up over decades and decades.
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