Salvation Mountain is a place I wanted to blog about before the place will disappear. I went there which will probably be for the last time with my friend and fellow photographer Victoria Garcia-Sandlin. I heard and read that Leonard Knight was in a nursing home. My photo teacher Jim Noel told me about this place, told me it’s something I need to see and experience it myself. I finally went in June of 2007 with my photo friends for the first time. I went a again a few months later with my friend Lynn Pulsingay and took a photo of them both.
Then in 2009 me and my friends went back there again to see Leonard and the mountain again. What was great is I lost a lot of weight and could get around better and went to the top and took a shot of the view from the top. What an amazing view and yes I was doing some type of editing with Lightroom at the time. I was really happy to go to the top.
My friend Christine Bentz is talking to Leonard about how many time she’s been here. They are exchanging stories. Leonard was really happy, feeling good and just chatting away with everyone.
Each time we would go there I would get a new camera lens to play with, like this Fisheye. I was super excited to be shooting with new Fisheye at the time. Exciting time for exploration…
It was weird to go to Salvation Mountain and not to be greeted by Leonard himself. You could feel this empty sadness of this once filled place of love and joyfulness. This time I only shot with my iPhone 4S instead of my DSLR.
I almost pulled out my DSLR because the sky was just amazing that day but I just decided to stick with my iPhone and just go shooting.
More of this amazing sky…even with Leonard not being there I still tried to make the best of it. I’m sure that’s what he wanted…everyone to enjoy his mountain of God and Love.
Let me talk about these Bluebirds Leonard painted, these birds are famous. It was something Leonard always had to show you. You just had to listen to him and watch the sparkle in his eyes as he told you the tale behind those Bluebirds. These bird were also featured in a movie called “Into The Wild”. I highly recommend you see this film. You will see Emile Hirsch portraying Christopher McCandless and Leonard talking to each other like two kindred spirits exchanging the meaning of life to one another.
The people who took over the place have cleaned it up a little bit. Which is nice but I like it messy because it had character of paint cans, car window, sticks, branches, bundles of hay and old tires all over the place. You knew this was Leonard’s home and you were welcome to explore. The people who are running the place now aren’t very friendly nor want to speak to you. They just leave a book and a pen on a table so you can write that you were here.
I’m not a Christen nor religious but something about that place has a sense of purity. A man who had a vision of God and Love, all he wanted to do is spread the “word” and live his life out in the desert and sleep under the stars. He built a mountain with love, talked about love, didn’t judge you and took you in open arms. Leonard Knight was the happiest and riches man I’ve ever met in my life. I’m very lucky to have met Leonard Knight, listen to his wisdom and felt good when we left his mountain. One thing he taught us all is find our passion and make it happen.
Salvation Mountain iPhone 4S, a set on Flickr.