Sexy Film Photo Essay: Freedom in the Desert, Beautiful Women, Guitars & A Magical White School Bus

interview & intro by Nick West

Do you ever day dream of finding an old school bus, outfitting it into your home, and driving the country in search of artistic inspiration and general weird times in the desert? Us too. Luckily, we can vicariously live through the sexy adventures of Carly Dame and David Novotny, two former card carriers of the corporate world who did just that.  

After ridding themselves of most conventional burdens (bills, apartments, etc.), they're now dedicated to honing and sharing their passions - film photography, writing, music, leatherwork & culture - the first tangible outward expression coming in the form of their photo & poetry book, Astral Dust.   

Carly & David took some time to answer some questions and shared some of the gorgeous photos that they took on their trip. Enjoy:

What was your motivation to quit your jobs and why at this specific point in your lives?

Ultimately, we wanted to make our lives into a work of art and to create something that would live on long after our bodies were gone. Our creative passions required more time from us mentally and physically and it was time we started working on our own dream and not for someone else. The decision to leave our jobs was a risky one - we didn't know what the other side looked like and if we could survive without the security of a stable job or a place to live. In the end, the thought of treading water in a workplace that wasn't fulfilling and being tied down by bills and objects propelled us into our current nomadic lifestyle. We found our school bus "Syd" for no more than a couple month's rent and it made sense to leave our old way of life behind, move into our bus, and the see the continent while focusing on photography and writing. 

Carly (37).jpg

To move forward with a creative project like this, you just need to take the plunge, dive in head first. You have to remove the safety nets to see what you're really made of. We weren't afraid of the outcome because no matter what happened, we knew we were giving everything to realize our dreams. At first it's a dance you don't know the steps to in an empty ballroom. As the days go by, it just becomes smooth and natural and it's as if you invented the dance yourself. 

"You have to remove the safety nets to see what you're really made of."

Where is one place everyone should visit and why?

There is a mystical land scattered with dinosaur bones and alien thrones in the badlands of New Mexico called Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah. Taking over 2 days to get there, it's by far the most visually wild and desolate place that has the ability to transport you to a moon that's been taking over by another life form. It may not be en route for most road trippers, but if you find yourself in New Mexico, it's an adventure worth taking.

Through your journey, what message can others glean, or what wisdom do you feel you've gained from moving in this direction away from what you were doing previously?

Don't feel the need to explain yourself to anyone or wait for permission to go after your passions. No one sees the way you do and you owe it to yourself and the world to realize your wildest dreams. 

Thanks to Carly & Dave for sharing their journey. If you dig their photos, be sure to check out their photobook,  Astral Dust.

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Like wild landscapes in film? Then check out our 35mm Alaskan Photo Essay.