Rose Cefalu | Ep 153

Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay area, Rose first experienced the desert on a camping trip w/friends. They tent camped in the Black Rock Campground in Joshua Tree National Park and she found it enchanting, beautiful, wild and fun. It was the first time she’d seen a coyote in the wild.

Later, while living in Los Angeles, Rose would come out to the desert to produce photo shoots. She says of that first time back, "The wide open spaces really grabbed me".

We talk about the harshness of mother nature with respect to weather and humans bumping up against the natural environment and witnessing the the circle of life happening up close and in person.

Rose says her decision to move to the desert was two-fold, part of it was the enchantment with the desert and the other part was a personal challenge to see if she could live here.

In this episode, Rose admits second guessing herself after the making the move. Ultimately, she ended up becoming inspired to pick up her camera again and make prints.

Rose got her first camera at the age of seven and her first ‘shoot’ was at a zoo, capturing all the wild animals. The appeal was immediate and Rose found herself taking photography classes as electives in junior high and high school, along with graphic design. After attempting traditional junior college classes - with all the math, history and English - Rose left and attended the Academy of Art in San Francisco to study photography. A class project turned Rose on to the development of magazines, which she found very satisfying. Upon finishing school she took an internship at Detour Magazine and was eventually hired on full time. Rose continues to work in entertainment magazines - it's been 27 years.

Prior to moving to the desert, Rose had begun to reacquaint herself with some photographic printing techniques and her medium of choice became the cyanotype (or some might know it as sun printing). Rose explains the process and if you’re interested in learning, you can sign up for her classes from her website.

The first summer here Rose's skin was so affected by the dry heat she wanted to find something natural to sooth and replenish her skin. Rose discovered how Native Americans used the beloved creosote plant to create healing balms and she began making her own hand balm. You can find the hand salve, body butter, candles and other treats created by Rose at her Etsy shop: Joshua Tree Desert Rose.