by Ethan Covey
The desert speaks with many tongues, some forked.
— Edward Abbey, The Monkey Wrench Gang
In the autumn of 2017, I had the opportunity to spend a week traveling the desert of Utah. I had a vehicle, maps, camping gear, a loose itinerary and boxes of film. More than anything, I had time.
I had first visited Utah once previously and found myself pining for more time to contemplate the vastness of the landscape, the array of colors and shifting geography. This trip allowed me exactly that. I was alone—often spending a day or more without encountering other individuals—and moving at my own pace. Some days were spent on long hauls, observing the terrain changes via smooth, near-empty tarmac; others were crawls, covering just a couple of dozen miles of dirt track.
I shot only film—a combination of 35mm and medium format—on a handful of vintage cameras. While I focused on landscapes and images of the villages I rolled through, I was drawn to compositions where roads, paths or buildings dotted the desert—a human hand evident in the expanse.