Nelson's Landing

A Backdrop to tell any story.

Nelson's Landing


The last location for the OneCollective Las Vegas Edition landed the photographers and reps in yet another desolate stop deep in the Eldorado Canyon called Nelson Landing’s Ghost Town.

The small town of Nelson first sprang up in a response to one of the most famous mines in Southern Nevada, called the Techatticup Mine, around the mid-1800s and lasted nearly 80 years until after World War II.


The history of the area, though, started long before the cry of “GOLD!” rang through the canyons.


Eldorado Canyon served as a crossroad between the mighty Colorado River, just a short jaunt down the canyon to the east, and Black Canyon, located on the state line of Nevada and Arizona, near the present-day Hoover Dam.

Without any road except the winding track cut by the seasonal rushing flash floods, Eldorado Canyon is desolate and remote, and yet accessible. Such a location practically screams history.

Indian nations, Spanish conquistadors, early Mormon settlers, Colorado River explorers and expeditions, such as Joseph Christmas Ives, and U.S. Army regiments all traveled across this area, often crossing paths with casualties.


The closeness of the Colorado River to the Eldorado and Black canyons allowed the mine to boom easily and quickly.


The mine, rich with gold and other minerals, lured all sorts of unsavory characters from Civil War deserters and murderers, to thieves and other rabble. And the Colorado River steamboats ferried them to their destiny.

"I think there never was another place where, in proportion to the population, so many murders were committed without the criminals being brought to trial or even apprehended," said John Riggs, an Eldorado Canyon gold miner in the 1880s.

Nelson’s Landing and Techatticup Mine embodied the idea of “El Dorado,” the Lost City of Gold that the Spanish conquistadors searched for; this location attracted gold-seekers and where lawlessness, grit, and rugged individualism meant living another day.

Eventually, though, Techatticup Mine dried up, leaving little evidence of human presence except the darkened mine openings, the occasional minecart and rail structure, and fragments of wooden buildings.


However, unlike Rhyolite, which the OneCollective team visited two days earlier, Eldorado Canyon has experienced an unforeseen revitalization.


Decades after the mine closed, the Werly family purchased the land and envisioned a new kind of boom town: tourists, photographers, and filmmakers.

Along with historical mine tours, the individuals who own and run the Eldorado Canyon Mine Tours actually live in some of the buildings photographed in these images.

Filmmakers have utilized this location for music videos, commercials, clips in Hollywood movies, and even Zombie Apocalyptic independent films.

A photographer’s paradise, the acres of land nestled in Eldorado Canyon are covered in structurally-solid buildings specifically built to look dilapidated and haphazard, surrounded by the natural beauty of the desert.

14 studio representatives - 9 photographers - 1 morning

And each area and building has collections of...well, if it was anywhere else except Eldorado, it would be called rusted junk.


Crashed planes, airstreams, Volkswagen buses, large excavating equipment, vintage cars--the beauty of the place is in the layers and multitude. It truly makes for some of the most fun, creative and unusual photo opportunities.

For this reason, OneCollective decided to not only have a personal style for the reps, which allowed for everyone to wear their own style of clothing, but also develop two other styles that would be worthy of many blockbuster movies.


Enter stage left, Electric Chic and Mad Max.


The Electric Chic inspiration came from vintage cartoons such as The Jetsons and Futurama, and comic books like Out of this World and Space World, and more modern films and books such as The Hunger Games, The Matrix, and Blade Runner.

The makeup and hair transitioned beautifully from the natural look of the reps' personal style to the avant garde makeup and hairstyles of a futuristic world. The artists created a makeup style evoking the dramatic, artistic and extreme, which is the polar opposite of a natural look.

Flashy, edgy, colorful, these costumes placed the reps 100 years into the future, where space travel will surely be as easy as driving to the grocery store. Set against the backdrop of Nelson’s Landing, the juxtaposition of the dichotomous bygone past and extravagant future helped tell the story of the present.


And after the 100-year leap into the future, OneCollective brought on a post-apocalyptic world featuring Mad Max-inspired characters.


Nelson’s Landing could not have been more apropo for an end-of-the-world set. 

Modified and oversized vehicles, dilapidated silos, twisted plane wreckage, and stark desert cliffs provided OneCollective reps and photographers a surreal dystopian backdrop. 

The Mad Max look is far more than location--it involves post-worldly costuming, fearsome hairstyling, unnerving makeup, and spine-tingling attitude. 

The reps’ created outfits--reconstructed, disassembled, and repurposed--from remnants of clothing, and layered it all with belts, chains, pouches, and imposing accessories.

The makeup and hairstyles superseded any done before. In a world where everything must impress and overpower, first appearances must inspire awe and more than a little fear. Literally hair-raising and formidable, the reps’ hairstyles became another shield announcing their survivalist nature. When paired with the smudged, smeared, and splotched makeup on their faces and bodies, the reps became unstoppable.  

The location, the set, costuming, props, hairstyling, and makeup are nothing except when coupled with the reps’ take-no-prisoners attitude befitting such world-ending films as Mad Max, Waterworld, and The Postman.


After the three-day photoshoot with all of the changes and locations, and the bone-chilling wind, these OneCollective Reps certainly survived the experience and shone so brightly to give inspiration to others who want to participate in such an amazing event.