Western Migrations – Photography by John Nyboer

Beckoned by prospects for a better life, people once migrated to the American West in search of the good life.  Photographer John Nyboer captures the illusory nature of that fantasy, refocusing his lens on unfulfilled promises and unrealized potential.  When gazing at detritus, unbuilt projects and abandonment, even the beauty and majesty of nature often become desolate and somehow austere.  The photographs from the four series presented here artfully juxtapose the allure of the West, the California dream and upward mobility with oblivion, the drabness of everyday life and urban dreams cast aside.  You can see these and more at http://estnyboer.com/photos.

From the “Pastoral Detritus” Series


"Crushed Trailer" - Keeler, CA

"Hancock Quonset, Yermo"

"George AFB Cul de Sac"

From the “Drive to Vegas via Afton Canyon” Series

“Afton Swirl”

"Afton Trestle"

From the “Drive to Vegas the Long Way” Series

“Tecopa Truck 1”

"Clouds over Hwy 15"

"South on Hwy 127"

"Soda Dry Lake from Zzyx Road"

"Train - BNSF"

"Future Park, Glen Helen Pkwy"

From the “Los Angeles Apartments: The Good Life Series”

“The Californian”

"The Sun Dial Palms"

"The Empire"


"Five O Five Idaho"

"The Palms"

For John Nyboer, a Southern California native, the prosaic is profound.  Educated as a writer at UCLA, Nyboer began to teach himself photography by focusing on Los Angeles apartment buildings. These photos of stucco dwellings were exhibited at the 2010 Museum of Photography Los Angeles and have been featured on PolarInertia.com, an online urban architecture publication. These days, he is likely to be found on the byways of the Owens Valley or the Mojave Desert but if you happen to see him on the street taking pictures of your apartment building, stop and say hello.

  1. Nice photos! I always wondered about those building names. It seems one can make an entire book about them. It almost seems as if they are delivering some sort of a promise to whoever decides to rent in those apartment buildings, while many times you really wonder to what extent these promises are delivered or broken.

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