This guy spent 25 years creating an utterly amazing underground fairytale world
Ra Paulette, a self-taught sculptor, has been working every day for the past 25 years in the New Mexico desert, where he spends his time carving magical palaces out of sandstone caves.
He finds the light sandstone caves that are easy to chisel, then deepens and expands them by creating a system of interconnected, vaulted halls. The walls are covered by the sculptor with exquisite carvings — every cave has its own style. Incredibly, Ra has been carrying out this titanic work entirely alone, with only his faithful dog to help him.
He cuts windows out of the walls and ceilings of the caves, and then the afternoon sun fills the halls with bright rays. Ra calls his mysterious underground palaces “protogenic sanctuaries,” in which an individual can feel the soul of the world. He creates them for his own pleasure and as an outlet for self-expression. While he is working in the caves, he sets up a cosy corner for himself, adding everything that he needs to feel comfortable.
Recently, this somewhat legendary solitary artist became the subject of a film, Cave Digger, which was nominated for an Oscar for best documentary. We picked out the most atmospheric and impressive photographs of Ra’s underground palaces which are open to the public. They’re both inspiring and breathtakingly beautiful.