Asked to describe his recent journey across the American Southwest, photographer Alexander Wagner simply responds, “It’s hard for me to encapsulate the experience.” Something about the names of his stops—particularly Monument Valley and Navajo Nation—strikes a chord, but any description beyond these descriptors themselves is simply too far out of reach.

Anyone who has followed the route, spending days awash in the hazy red of the region, will likely understand his struggle. While Indio, California, and Joshua Tree National Park have been building retro notoriety for some years—thanks, in part, to Coachella—Wagner’s later stops throughout Arizona and Utah are more often the subject of poetic lore than social feeds.

This is not Wagner’s first trip, experience Alexander Wagner’s California Road Trip.

The images—published here as the first in our new travel series, The Last Road Trip—cover the breadth of the mystery, from the towering monuments that litter the national parks to the low-hanging towns scattered between them, all dusty specks of diners, strip clubs, and roadside motels. The contrast is striking but somber, leaving the viewer with the feeling that maybe the latter are worth the first visit, lest they disappear before you get the chance.

To see more of Wagner’s work, please visit

Model: Josefin Gustafsson at IMG Models.

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