Ownership. Ownership is a very odd thing. We decide about all sorts of things "this is mine" not just because we like the thing but because we want others to know that it is not for their use. For many things this doesn't really seem to be an issue because it's unlikely you're going to come in to my apartment and ask to wear my t-shirts (though maybe it's odd that some have space and others don't, but I do appreciate not being murdered in my sleep). However, sometimes these things we label as belongings not for others becomes an issue, especially when money is involved. Thanks to Teddy Roosevelt we are very lucky to have public lands in our country. They belong to all of us and so no individuals can decide to build a fence, tear it down, and set up condos. But not all land falls under that jurisdiction and so sometimes things are for public usage become privatized. Such was the case when Kira Lawrence and I headed out to Ojai.
Kira and I wanted to go shoot at the famous Hot Springs in Ojai. I had heard about them for years but never really thought to make it out there until my friend Lisa brought it up. I did some research and read about how dope a location it is so I asked Kira if she'd like to head out there for a shoot. I wasn't positive that the springs themselves would lend well for shooting, especially given that my knowledge was that they are a popular spot and there might be nudist around, but if nothing else sometimes just having a destination is the catalyst for a rad shoot. When we arrived we saw signage and a parking lot that I had not read about. We pulled in to the lot and a lady walked up to us with a clipboard and said, "Would you like to take a soak in the hot spring? It's $20 for 2 hours." Kira and I looked at each other with the same distain for the situation, told the lady we were going to grab lunch, and come back (which we did not). I later read an article that the land around the springs had been purchased by a local group claiming that they wanted to use the money to help clean up the area, which for years had been trashed. This was very controversial with the locals of course because this was always a free site that anyone could visit and was now being profited on. Even more controversially the land actually may be public land but the surveys are inaccurate and it would cost the town in the six figures to actually decipher who owns it.
We were most disappointed but we did not let it deter us from a killer shoot. We found a nearby trail and took some photos. We weren't able to make it super far as the recent rains had caused the river to rise and block a major part of the path. After the path we headed to a beautiful and peaceful temple for our next location. Overall it's not as big a set as some of my normal ones given how much time we spent out there but some of the photos in here are some of my absolute favorite I've taken. Kira is always an amazing model and adventure partner who I appreciate on so many levels. The great thing about going on photo adventures is that you don't always know what's going to happen but sometimes the experience makes all the difference. Despite our setbacks we learned about the recent history of the Ojai Hot Springs, took some killer photos, and had a great time so please enjoy!
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