living in the past...

Butte was at one time hot shit in the American West. That was back in the 1900s, when copper mining in the area was at its most rapacious. Back then Butte was known as the "Richest Hill on Earth", and the town developed a rough-and-tumble reputation as a place for easy vice.

Nowadays the town is pathetic. Though the copper mine closed for good and forever in 1982, the townsfolk still can't move on. As the enormous open pit behind their homes continues to fill ever higher with deadly toxic water, the residents still harbor a wishful fantasy that their mine will one day reopen, provide hazardous employment and environmental degradation, and restore all the glories of yesteryear.

And so they commissioned this decorative mural with life-sized cutouts, in celebration of all the sweet virtues to which they aspire: gambling, drinking, and prostitution.

Isn't that cute.

Butte, Montana. May 2003.

Nikkormat FTN, lens unrecorded, Kodak BW-400 (C-41 B&W).