Saturday, January 29, 2011

Victor aka Cuba

In a life affirming demonstration of the importance of getting off the tarmac, the day before yesterday I hung a right toward the mountains and met Victor Hernandez herding 500 borregos north to Antonito, Colorado.  Between my halting Spanish and his sweet, talkative self I learned he'd be herding his woolly charges to Antonito in quatro dias, four days.  That's five miles or so a day. Victor was camping with the sheep, two collies he called the Daddy and the Puppy, pronounced Poopy, and a pistola for los coyotes.  It was a regular time warp.  What the hell year is this?

Anyway, I tried to find out where he had come from and how long he'd been here.  Since he used the words Florida and Zacatecas I deduced he was Mexican.  But about that time his patron Alfonso Abeyta pulled up with a load of firewood and I learned the rest of the story. Victor is, in fact, Cuban and was a boat person who escaped to Florida around 1965. Check. His wife is from Zacatecas. Check. A Cuban shepherd in northern New Mexico.  Makes perfect sense to me.

"I call him Cuba." Patron Alfonso told me.  It's one one heck of a story and a cool nickname to boot.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Blanket of Snow

Photographs of historic Ranchos Church are always in vogue.  The cloak of snow is quiet reminder of the conditions we should have in Taos this time of year.  Instead it's more like late March than mid-January.  The bright sunny forties are mighty lovely but invite a bike ride more than a trip to the slopes.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Coiled and Barbed

Fences play a big role in the American West.  As vast as it is finding unfenced land is rare.  Often coils of wire are left behind for the next repair.  Here the coil, the barb wire fence and the shadow on the snow create an elegant winter design.  Did you know that barb wire comes in dozens if not hundreds of styles and patterns so distinctive that an expert can tell what ranch employs a given style? Just a little Americana from the old sage of the high desert.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Vanishing Point

Nothing in America matches the desperation of some of our Indian reservations and the hardscrabble communities that subsist on them.  The Pine Ridge Reservation straddles two achingly poor counties, one in South Dakota and one in Nebraska.  The per capita income of $4,524 is among the lowest in the United States.  Unemployment is over 80%.  It's no surprise that the reservation is a wellspring of drug addiction and alcoholism.  Brutally cold in the winter and blazing hot in summer, the earth is barely arable.  There are no mineral resources.  Home, sweet home, Leonard Peltier.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

More about The Arrangement

In my earlier post I neglected to include a link to the catalog for the show.  If you click on the link below you'll be able to flip through the book to see all of the images in the exhibition.  Pretty cool.

The Arrangement

The tradition of the still life as an art subject is alive and well during The Arrangement, an exhibition at Vermont Photo Space in Essex Junction about 10 miles east of Burlington.  I am pleased to announce the inclusion of two of my photographs in the show that begins January 11 and runs through March 4.   

Juror Paula Tognorelli, Executive Director of the Griffin Museum of Photography in Winchester, Massachusetts describes still life as art making that begins with arrangements of primarily inanimate objects.  And, in the words of gallery owner Ken Signorello photographic images of these still lifes are a sort of “art squared where one first creates a work of art then another to preserve it.”

Paula Tognorelli has selected “Found Art” and “Muffler Art #1” for the exhibition.  Click on the link below to learn more about the show.


Sunday, January 02, 2011

Into the storm

We hadn't had much winter when a blast hit us Friday.  Half a dozen inches fell in town and 15" were welcomed on the mountain.  It was minus nine when I got the The Times this morning.  In this shot Highway 64 eastbound vanishes into a threatening sky.