A Trip To Ghost Town

As part of our 24 hours series, we asked photographer Brendon Burton to document a day in his life. Shooting both film and digital, he takes us on a trip to an abandoned town one week before he moved from Portland to New York City. He drove across Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota. ‘This trip was very special to me, I turned 21, saw a brand new part of the country and spent a full week almost completely isolated with people who are very close to me’, he says. You can also follow Brendon Burton on Facebook, Tumblr and Instagram.

[3pm] Spent the day driving around the reservation in Montana stopping at the small abandoned homesteads that dot the grassy plains.

brendonburton_24hours_1 brendonburton_24hours_2 brendonburton_24hours_3 brendonburton_24hours_4 [7 pm] Leaving the lake, we watch the sunset and take one last swim.

brendonburton_24hours_6 [12 am] We reach our hotel late at night in a tiny town hundreds of miles from any other city.

brendonburton_24hours_7 [7 am] We wake early and head towards the ghost town. Driving down a dirt road for 30 minutes we finally see a water tower in the distance. Keep out signs have been spray painted on some of the buildings but the entire area is free to explore, completely vacant. Everyone in our group is a photographer so we scatter with our cameras exploring and shooting as much as we could.

brendonburton_24hours_8 brendonburton_24hours_9 brendonburton_24hours_10 [9 am] Wandering along the streets and crawling into the dozens of houses scattered through this empty community, the only other human presence is a train that passes every hour. It used to bring water to this town but now it simply passes by and blows a whistle that echoes across the fields and gives the area an ominous feeling.

brendonburton_24hours_11 brendonburton_24hours_12 [10 am] Ben and Gabriel find fire extinguishers in a trailer. We utilize them for photos of course.

brendonburton_24hours_13 [12 pm] The town is filled with strange objects you would expect to find in a ghost town such as cow skulls and hundreds of tumbleweeds. Dozens of abandoned cars as well, it’s rather unsettling to see the sheer amount of belongings left behind.

brendonburton_24hours_14 brendonburton_24hours_15 brendonburton_24hours_19 brendonburton_24hours_20 [1 pm] While most houses have broken windows and are in extreme disrepair, some seem to be hardly touched since they were deserted.

brendonburton_24hours_18 brendonburton_24hours_21 brendonburton_24hours_22 brendonburton_24hours_23 [3pm] I pull a few tumbleweeds into a house and make a small set out of what I can find. I’m sure the next people that explore this area will be confused by what I’ve put together.

brendonburton_24hours_24 brendonburton_24hours_25 [4 pm] In our last hour in the town we all wander around together, I take some portraits of my friends.

brendonburton_24hours_26 brendonburton_24hours_28 brendonburton_24hours_16 brendonburton_24hours_17 brendonburton_24hours_27 [5 pm] We all gather at one of the largest houses and show each other what we found and what we shot that day. It had been a long trip but it was worth it to see one of the strangest places I’ve ever visited. I hope I can go back someday.

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All images © Brendon Burton