In the summer of 2013 took a trip to Texas—my first, unless you count the many times I've ridden the tram at the Dallas/Ft. Worth airport from one terminal to another, which, for the record, I don't. It was delightfully ironic, then, that my first trip to Texas was to El Paso, a city wedged between New Mexico to the north and Original Mexico to the south.
El Paso is a city flickering on the border of international cellular coverage and two time zones, its mountains emblazoned with an illuminated star to remind us that, yes, we're still technically in the Nation of Texas. Flung to the westernmost reaches of the state and underlined by the Rio Grande, El Paso is primarily forgetful, and secondarily familiar—a midsize city strewn with Circle Ks and strip malls and gyms and Chevrons, as American as it gets. I didn't take any pictures in El Paso; the bulk of my adventures with Dustin took place in New Mexico.
White Sands National Monument is a 275-sq mile gypsum crystal dune field—the largest in the world. Even after a day baking in triple-digit temps, the sand was cool enough for bare feet. Miles and miles of undulating dunes surrounded us, suspended over the horizon like a sheet flung over a mattress. As the sun sank further to the west, the effect was unlike anything I've ever seen: austere minimalism with a Lisa Frank color palette, both soothing and savage.
The photos in this dispatch have not been manipulated beyond light contrast/exposure adjustments. Those colors exist, people, and you can find them at sunset in New Mexico.