In between one of the wonders of the world and one of America’s most quaint western cities is a roadside attraction that has something for fans of pop culture and a whole lot more for those who are into analogue photography. Just spend a day in Bedrock City, and surely it will have you saying Yabba Dabba Lomo!
Halfway between Lomographer’s paradise, Flagstaff, Arizona and the Grand Canyon is a tourist trap that probably elicits more than it’s fair share of ‘LOL, whut?’ reactions but will definitely catch the fancy of the toy camera crowd. It’s a life-sized replica of Bedrock City – best known as the setting for the popular Hannah Barbera cartoon, The Flintstones.
Driving down the road, your eyes will soon catch sight of a towering Fred Flintstone. Nestled between a variety of roadside gas stations and restaurants, which seem to be the last places to buy film before you get to the Grand Canyon, Fred’s towering visage is actually a welcome break. Once you enter the dust caked gift shop is when Bedrock will show it’s true face. From lil’ keychains of The Flintstones to shot glasses that say ‘Arizona’ you’ll find all manner of crap that you can spend your hard-earned loot on. Although the best choice is still the five bucks that it takes to actually enter Bedrock itself.
Once you pass through the turnstile and duck through the arch that leads to Bedrock you are struck by the bleakness of the place. I love American topography and I love the majesty of the west but the gruff banality of the flat, ugly, high-desert would be enough to make Ansel Adams take a flying leap. To my fellow Lomographers, just go with it! We don’t often get a chance to photograph carnival bright colors in such a bleak environment. I found the place to be a perfect opportunity to really flex some Lomography Redscale film through my Wide and Slim camera and I did end up with fabulous results. The weather in general also makes it a wonderful location for both fall and spring. The retro, washed-out look of the colors are complemented by the ‘60s motif and look of the Flintstones’ town. Ghoulish concrete statues greet you at every turn and as you travel from one empty building to another, you have to wonder ’Did people ever lined up for this?’
Now, it doesn’t matter because the stillness of the place and it’s inherent creepiness – and coolness actually make it a Lomographer’s dream. Snap portraits of Bam-Bam, survey the whole city from the back of a towering Brontosaurus or get up close and personal with numerous, nameless concrete people that inhabit this retro stone-age attraction.
If you are looking for a location that combines pop culture, Route 66 charm, and a chance to shoot some crazy colors with weird subjects then hit Bedrock City. You’re bound to have a Yabba Dabba Do time.