“You know, you can only have so many campfires and grill so many hot dogs and marshmallows before you get bored.” —Elmer Long
There’s something about the desert that causes some people to amass collections of what others consider junk, then turn those collections into quirky art. Maybe it’s the space to do it in. Maybe it’s the lack of distractions. And maybe it’s something in the air. Or the blood.
Elmer Long grew up camping in the Mojave where he and his father discovered old trash dumps. The father spent 30 years gathering items—especially bottles—and in 2000 Elmer started turning those treasures into the Bottle Tree Ranch, on old Route 66 near Oro Grande, California.
Sadly, Elmer passed away this June. I never got to meet him. He seemed like a cool guy. But Josh of California Through My Lens got this interview.