Update: The photograph below ended up avoiding the cutting room floor. In the book, it is opposite the title page, the first photograph in the book!
I am currently designing a new book that will contain archive images that I made in New Mexico in the early and late 1990s. I have held these images close and have only shown a selection of them once, in a small exhibit back in 2009.
These photographs are personally dear to me. They represent an important part of my life, both personally and artistically. Experiencing these places opened up a part of me that I really didn’t know. It was a new thing for me to react to such spiritually rich places within a landscape that was both beautiful and foreboding.
And, I experienced all of this with Julie during our many trips for a period of some twenty years. In 1985, a friend of Julie’s told her that we must go to New Mexico. So, we did.
We developed a love of the history, culture and art of Northern New Mexico. And we had a multitude of incredible experiences. Heck, we even met Bono and Adam Clayton of U2 in the Coyote Corral bar in Santa Fe. Funny, they thought we were locals. We didn’t tell them any different. (Maybe more on that in a future post.)
Many of these experiences were a critical part of my development as a photographer. In 1988 we first laid eyes on the palladium photographic prints of David Michael Kennedy at the Madrid Supply Company. Seeing his prints changed my entire perception of how light could be captured within the composition of an image.
David Scheinbaum opened my eyes to search beyond the obvious when it came to photographers and the history of photography. While at his gallery, after I told him that I loved cloud photographs, he turned me onto Ralph Steiner. While a seemingly small thing, there was something about the poetry of Steiner’s work that changed how I felt about seeing and photographing.
While at Taos Pueblo, Julie and I experienced things that we still do not understand, but we do acknowledge their reality and accept the spirituality that encompassed these experiences.
These are just three out of a multitude of events that altered or changed the appreciation of the spirituality of life and art.
I am showing an “outtake” from the book’s photographs as a part of this post. This one did not make the cut, but it is an important image. Paul Strand’s photography has always had a significant effect on me. One summer Strand was in Taos. While staying at Mabel Dodge Luhan’s house, from her solarium, Strand would watch the summer’s thunderstorms develop. He would time them from a particular period of development until they would arrive at a place where he wanted to photograph. So, in July of 1993, Julie and I headed to northern New Mexico to watch and photograph the thunderstorms develop and move across the landscape.
While in Taos, we timed the approximate arrival for thunderstorms to reach the Ranchos Church. This resulted in a series of photographs, some of which were planned in advance and some that were not. To make these photographs, expediency was the key. If you ask Julie, expediency is not my strong suit. With her help, we accomplished what we set out to do. The photo below is from that stormy afternoon in July of 1993.
I look forward to presenting the book of photographs of Northern New Mexico in the near future. Possibly I will pursue a proper exhibition of this work. At this point in my life, I feel I am ready to share these photographs that are so special to me.
Note: all of the photographs in the upcoming book were made on film using old 2 1/4″ and 4″ x 5″ cameras.