If you ever find yourself in the middle of West Texas and feel like seeing a bit of obscura, boy do I have a place for you!
South of the town of Van Horn, west of the famous artsy town of Marfa, and just outside of the tiny hamlet of Valentine, Texas, you’ll find a random Prada “store” called Prada Marfa. It’s actually about an hour outside of Marfa, so don’t go to Marfa and look for it. It’s very in the middle of nowhere, closest to the town of Valentine actually.
A Berlin-based design studio called Elmgreen and Dragset created Prada Marfa as a surrealistic art piece (with involvement from Prada) to create a storefront in the middle of the desert and watch as the desert slowly reclaimed it over time. So when I say it’s a “store” I mean it looks like a store but it’s never open and nothing is for sale. There is authentic Prada merchandise inside but, due to vandalism concerns, none of the bags have bottoms in them and all the shoes are right-footed.
Most people visit Prada Marfa in the daytime for a classic lonely shot of a luxury goods storefront in the middle of nothing. I wanted to do something different on my way out there, so we went in the early morning (around 4:00am). Since the location is so remote, it’s also a great dark sky location for Milky Way views, so I wanted to try and capture the Milky Way in the image. We got out there in the still, cool desert night and got to work. Eventually I realized, after a few test shots, that the Milky Way would work perfectly. I ended up blending three exposures together and the result is this week’s Picture of the Week!
For the photographers: I used my Sony a7rIV and the 24mm f1.4 GM lens for this one. As I mentioned above, it’s a blend of three images, although all viewing angles are consistent (it’s not like the Milky Way was in a completely different position or anything). The first was for the inside of the Prada Marfa store. The second was for the exterior of the building, which my brother and I lit up during a long exposure with our phone flashlights. The third image was of the Milky Way itself (I just moved the tripod to the side of the store building so I wouldn’t have to worry about the light pollution.
Easy blend in photoshop later and I couldn’t be happier with how it came out!