Framework

Capturing the world through photography, video and multimedia

Raphael and Maileina Luciano with their 10-month-old daughter Evelyn outside their trailer in Slab City.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Arkasha Stevenson / Los Angeles Times

Nathan Luciano, 6, examines a lizard he found as his older brother tells him of a lizard he once saw run straight into a bonfire. "Did it burn up?" Nathan asks only a day after he singed his hair after getting too close to a fire.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Arkasha Stevenson / Los Angeles Times

Kamaile Luciano, 12, plays with her 10-month-old sister Evelyn inside their family's RV parked in Slab City.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Arkasha Stevenson / Los Angeles Times

Raphael Luciano comforts Makayla Luciano, 3, after she fell off her skateboard in what was once a swimming pool.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Arkasha Stevenson / Los Angeles Times

Covered in mud, Kamaile Luciano, 12, the oldest of seven children, dives off of a concrete structure and into the hot springs on the outskirts of Slab City.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Arkasha Stevenson / Los Angeles Times

Kamaile Luciano paints in mud on a concrete structure. She reads aloud the message someone wrote before her. "Be well, be blessed, be you."

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Arkasha Stevenson / Los Angeles Times

Raphael Luciano helps daughter Makayla, 3, float in the hot springs outside Slab City.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Arkasha Stevenson / Los Angeles Times

Dylan Luciano, 7, soaks in the dishwashing tub beside the hot springs on the outskirts of Slab City.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Arkasha Stevenson / Los Angeles Times

"We probably wouldn't be here if it weren't for the hot springs," says Maileina Luciano.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Arkasha Stevenson / Los Angeles Times

The Luciano family have been traveling state to state in their RV after losing their home. From left to right, Dylan, 7, Kamaile, 12, Evelyn, 10 months, Maileina, 35, Makayla, 3, Raphael, 49, Charlez, 2, Skylar, 9, and Nathan, 6.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Arkasha Stevenson / Los Angeles Times

East Jesus, a reference to the middle of nowhere, is home to artists as well as their sculptures in Slab City, where Christmas lights illuminate the camp.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Arkasha Stevenson / Los Angeles Times

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Slab City

A desert squatters camp in the Imperial Valley has become its own community and, with the nation mired in recession, is more popular than ever.

The name Slab City comes from the concrete foundations that remain from World War II buildings. A huge swimming pool from that era is now a place for kids to ride their skateboards.

There are no municipal services, no streetlights and no water or sewage services. But nobody charges rent or collects fees or tries to impose homeowner covenants.

Several hundred people — ranging from the free-spirited young, retired “snowbirds” from colder climes, and the tight-money crowd of all ages — live in a ramshackle collection of tents, trailers, aging mobile homes and other ad hoc dwellings.

Read Tony Perry’s story: Slab City, a trailer park utopia, thrives in remote desert

1 Comment

  1. December 20, 2011, 7:52 pm

    I drove through the "City" last Sunday. It looked pretty much like I thought it would, but I was still amazed at how truly remote the place felt. And what adds to the remoteness is that fact that the entire valley and Salton Sea area has a ghost town feel to it since so many have left. There are quite a few shuttered cafes, shops, etc. along the dusty road leading south to Calexico. But back to Slab City. Hey, if I had a motor home or some kind of RV and wanted to get away from "crampgrounds," this is where I'd go for a total getaway for a few days, maybe longer. I loved the market in Niland where you could get provisions. They had fresh meat, a decent selection of produce plus a variety of stuff you might need. I can't wait to go back and have a closer look.

    By: jjwang

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