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Sin Sombras / Without Shadows: A Search for the Meaning of Life, if There Is One, in the California Desert in Photographs and Stories
by James G. Barbee
Foreword by Jack Leustig

Ever wish you could push the "reset" button on the world in which you live as well as the one you carry inside your head? Are you tired of a culture that seems infatuated with wealth and the superfluous, where people can become famous simply by being outrageous or otherwise well known?

If that world is not working for you, perhaps you should consider a trip to the desert, just as holy men, mystics, prophets, and eccentrics have done for thousands of years, seeking solitude and inspiration, wisdom and direction in a land of extremes. This is what author Jim Barbee did, seeking Inner Space in the expansive California Desert that lies just 100 miles east of Los Angeles.

In Sin Sombras/Without Shadows, Barbee allows us to experience, in photographs and stories, a desert landscape as beguiling and harsh as any on Earth—where there is no place to hide from the bright light or to find relief. It is a wild, arid, and sparsely populated region, "flyover" country for most travelers, a place to pass through or endure, but also home to hardy individuals who live there.

The photographs were taken largely between El Centro and Barstow, California, including the famous Salton Sea. They depict the landscape, people, towns, and human artifacts that tell a visual story of pilgrimage, survival, and adaptation. The accompanying stories walk the boundary between reality and fiction and are offered as reflections on the themes inspired by the pictures: awe, mystery, longing, death, mistakes, and the power of chance in our lives.

Sin Sombras/Without Shadows is a unique work of artistic and spiritual exploration. One might even say it is a sojourn to find the meaning of life, if there is one, in the unforgiving but awe-inspiring world of the California Desert. Enjoy the ride.


"When I began to go through Jim Barbee's images, I knew instantly that I was looking at visionary work . . . Sin Sombras/Without Shadows will one day be seen as one of the great chronicles of American land and life in the twenty-first century."
—Jack Leustig, from his Foreword

$45.00 U.S. (trade discount)
196 pages with 95 color photographs by the author, including 2 foldouts
10.75" x 13.25" (upright/portrait)
ISBN 978–1–938086–58–8

Forthcoming in April 2018

Distributed by Casemate IPM cart

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