PHOTO SYNOPSIS OF ‘THE TERMINAL BEACH’ a short story collection by J.G. Ballard. I am a big fan of Ballard and a few of his short stories have stuck hard in my head. I visited The Hall of Waters, Thanksgiving 2013, the building and under rooms struck me as Ballardesque, and reminded my strongly of one story, The Reptile Enclosure. I returned the following year to photograph for this book. While shooting, I kept questioning, why is this place closed down and deserted? The Hall of Waters was built in 1937, a huge WPA project, to be the most complete health Spa in the US. It employed thousands of people. Mostly men. The WPA also built many of the freeways and dams that we are still using today. The WPA was dismantled due to War, as the men working on WPA projects were needed there. The Hall of Waters was eventually closed. The wealth of mineral wells in the vicinity supplying the water bars and spas, claiming health through the water (one well has water that will stop gallstones) could not meet the new standards the FDA imposed. That is the long story very short. What a perfect place to demonstrate Ballards’ post-apocalyptic dystopia. What kind of society are we in that will not allow us the choice of curing our woes through water, the essential need for man? Ballard would love this place, there is even an empty swimming pool. Photos shot on my iPhone and Ricoh then enlarged by xerox and backed by linen. In a clamshell box, with a paperback copy housed within.
Charlene Matthews is a professional bookbinder with a Bindery in Hollywood, California. She does book restoration, box making, book arts and generally, anything that comes through the door.