'The callous winds fanning months of wildfires burned – white and desolate. While beyond the mountainside, the forest trees and cavern walls were quickly covered with an aftermath of unmistakable soot. It was the first in a series of occurrences to stir the spirits from the blackness of a heavy sleep.

As the air cleared, gatherings commenced and the night awoke with luminous globes falling in arcs from the starry abyss. The atmosphere echoed with anticipation and foreshadowed the arrival of imminent instruction from a distant constellation.' – excerpt from the companion  story by Antone Dolezal, published in A Place Both Wonderful and Strange, Fuego Books

Part of Fortune and  Part of Spirit
 Antone Dolezal

Part of Fortune and  Part of Spirit unearths a world of practitioners embracing religious beliefs formed by a complex tension between the scientific and the divine. Taking place in the deserts of California and Nevada – a region mythologized as a gateway to the cosmos – this work offers a constellation of photographs woven from the surreal and the rational and blends folklore of the American West alongside elements of science fiction cinema and new religious mythologies. Known as a haven for secret government programs, passing transients and utopian communities, this southwestern expanse composes a backdrop for a strange realm that embodies the aspirations and uncertainties of a changing society.  

This work brings together photographs that uncover a man-made disruption within the natural landscape and places portraits of spiritual practitioners alongside interpretive images drawing upon the beliefs they adhere to. These photographs are combined with documents and images constructed from my own interventions in government archives, as well as original manuscripts and texts tracing the origins of new esoteric religious movements. By favoring a layered narrative, Part of Fortune and Part of Spirit traces varying fragments that influence the evolution of modern-day myth, illuminating the boundaries of belief and offering a meditation into the ideologies meant to eclipse the cycle of conventional life.