Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Warren Bates: Rest In Peace

I've just learned that night photographer Warren Bates was killed Friday night when his car was hit by a train a few miles outside of Amboy, CA. Although I never met Warren, I had many email discussions with him after he released his night photography website, Road to Zzyzx, ten years ago. I had just created my night photography website the same year. Back then, before Flickr and Facebook and digital SLR's, there were only a few night photography websites, and everyone knew each by email, if not in person.

(Bagdad, CA 2000. Photo by Warren Bates)

You can read the entire article from the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Rest in peace, Warren.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Andy,
Thank you for mentioning Warren on your website, he would have liked that. I worked with Warren at the Review-Journal, where I worked with him for over twenty years. I helped Warren with his first night photography website, "Aspahlt Empire," until he learned to build them himself. Someone else bought up the asphaltempire.com domain while the site was down, so he came up with the roadtozzyzx site.
Warren's death has touched many of hs friends, admirers and colleagues who are still scrambling to come to terms with the incident, the loss of talent, and ... why? He was memorialized on Sunday, May 16, at the beautiful Springs Preserve in Las Vegas. Afterward, a busload and convoy of friends set out to the Mojave Preserve to release his ashes at a place he picked, where earlier, Warren had released the ashes of his beloved rabbit, Elko. Ironically, the cross had been stolen only days before.
Both his wake at the Tap House on Charleston Blvd., and his memorial, had drawn a large crowd of friends, journalists past and present, family, and again, admirers. Warren would have been stunned in life to know he had influenced so many.
Warren perished a few hundred feet from Roy's Gas and Cafe, at a railroad crossing. A place that was the subject of many of his photos. He had raced an eastbound train coming from Bagdad, Calif. while on a road he traveled many times. He beat the train to the crossing, pulled in front of it, stopped his mid-sized truck ... and waited, according to witnesses. The railroad's chaplain left a note on the door of his home in northwest Las Vegas for the next-of-kin, or, whomever, to contact him immediately. That was Saturday, April 24th. The first people in his home found Warren's eloved dog eagerly awaiting his return, for a trip she felt cheated out of. Little did she know. Warren would always take her with him, but not this trip. The dog now lives with his family in Calif. Warren loved animals.
His death brings a silent kiss goodbye to the arid, ghostly desert nights he loved so much. Maybe one of the close-knit night photographers will capture his faded image in a frame while shooting an abandoned structure somewhere in a moonlit Mojave.

10:09 AM  

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