The Photographic Journal


Essay 429 • Feb 27th 2020

The word itself means “existing everywhere or involving everyone.”

Leonard Knight, creator of the California desert spectacle known as Salvation Mountain, believed in spreading his message of “Universal Love.” He did that by using adobe, straw, and thousands of gallons of paint to create religious murals and technicolor bible verses. In fact, he spent about three decades creating Salvation Mountain. Thousands of people visit every year.

My friend Lina asked me to be a part of this creative endeavor—a colorful collaboration in two environments. The credit goes to her for bringing together the muses, wardrobe, and theme.

“My inspiration came from numerous people who have inspired me over the years, and who I have the pleasure of calling friends," she says. "One look is based on how I'm perceived—calm, composed, and dressed in dark tones. The other look is based on how I feel inside—bright, fun, and a little crazy!"

When we first arrived at Salvation Mountain, I wandered around and observed all the intricate details. After I spent some quiet time with the mountain, I narrowed my focus to play and document the world of color. At the most basic level, I love all the cracked paint and shapes that exist there. It's truly a sight to behold. And hey, the sun even finally peeked out toward the end of our adventure.

This essay is a collage of my favorite shots taken on those back-to-back days. Thanks to the entire team and all their hard work in creating something heavenly.


Jason Travis is a photographer, designer, illustrator, and musician based in Los Angeles. His work has been featured by CNN, USA Today, Gizmodo, BuzzFeed, BOOOOOOOM, and many more. He’s allergic to cats, carrots, and will forever love the 90s. He is currently TPJ’s Photographer-in-Residence.
Website | Instagram

Beverly Hills Sassoon Salon Shoot:
Hair: Lina Ryan
Makeup: Stony Taylor

Ikea Jackets created by Felippe Johann
Wardrobe provided by Isabel Hibbert

EdenIlianaMaryama / JenahBelleVanessaFreyah / Lara

Location: Beverly Hills Sassoon Salon

Salvation Mountain Shoot Credits
Hair: Lina Ryan
Makeup: Stony Taylor
Model: Lara

Location: Salvation Mountain

Check out Jason’s other TPJ photo essays:
Suburban Youth
Mind Glow
Vanished Spirits
Ellissa & Harry
Alley Cat
Flowers or Fruit