New Mexico, the state known for its cornfields and cattle, is famous for its ghost town, where thousands of people live without electricity, running water or any semblance of social mobility.
But photographer Graham Griffin is the only person to have visited it ever.
The photojournalist, who spent six years documenting the ghost town before leaving for the US in 2004, has never been back, not even to visit the place he loves.
The photograph of New Mexicans in a gas station in 2012 was the first to capture the ghost city.
Griffin was working on an assignment for a national newspaper, and was taking a break from shooting the ghost story in a remote section of the state when he was captured by the news photographer.
His photo, which he has called “the last time” and has become a global internet sensation, was widely shared and was one of the first images to show the ghost towns of New Mexican cities.
But now, in the final months of his life, Griffin is convinced he will never see his hometown again.
“I’ve never been to the town.
I’ve never seen a place that I could ever see.
I think there are only six people living in that town right now,” Griffin said.”
My life would be over if I could go back to that town.
It would be so hard.
It’s not the kind of place I want to live in.”‘
It’s a very strange place’When Griffin was 14, his mother died in the gas station explosion that destroyed his childhood home in Albuquerque.
“It’s hard to explain what that was like.
I was living with my grandmother and my aunt and my uncle, and it’s just a very weird place to be living in,” he said.
His mother had died in a car crash while driving his grandmother to the gas pump, and he and his brother lived with their grandmother’s aunt, who was on a farm nearby.
“The next day my mother died.
And then the next day the next.
She’s not here, she’s not even here.
I didn’t even know what happened to her.”
His mother’s body was never found.
His aunt was not able to care for him after he grew up, so he lived with his grandmother.
The family was then left with Griffin’s grandfather, who had moved to the US from Mexico City.
“That’s where he met my mother.
My father died and my mother left, and my grandfather died in Mexico, and they got married and then he moved to California, and she was still living with him,” Griffin explained.”
Then my uncle went and lived in Arizona and died.
He’s not coming back, so I think she’s got it together, she was a very tough woman.”
When Griffin returned to New Mexico in 2004 to take the first photo he had ever taken of the ghost-town, he decided to take his story to the world.
He went to an auction, bought a camera and a tripod, and spent months photographing the ghost cities.
“All my work has never come back.
I haven’t seen the place.
I can’t even drive through that place anymore,” he told ABC News.
Griffin has not visited the town since, but he has seen photos of it on the internet and he says he has the story to share.
“People have seen it, and people have seen the pictures.
I’m still here, I still have my life, and I still want to get out there and see it,” he concluded.