Sunday, August 20, 2017

Immel + Immel: Our New Mexico

Wagon Ruts, Cline's Corner, NM

Pecan Grove #1, Mesilla, NM

Out of the shadows, Las Vegas, NM

In less than two weeks on September 2 Immel + Immel: Our New Mexico will open at Wilder Nightingale Fine Art in Taos. My part, the photographs, include images that have never been shown in print form or in a gallery setting. You have seen some of them in my blog, however.

Above are three from the show.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Lenny Leaving

Homage to Lenny

Lenny Foster has left the building. Arguably Taos’ most successful photographer pulled up stakes last January and took his show to Saint Augustine, Florida. I'd joke he's looking for the fountain of youth but he doesn't need no stinking fountain. 

On Saturday, August 5 he returned to our arid environs for curtain call and a one-year retrospective he called “El Año Pasado” held at Magpie in the Overland Sheepskin Complex. As you would expect, the joint was rocking with friends and collectors hoping for a second chance to say goodbye to the last celebrity artist since R.C. Gorman left the planet. Good luck with your futile attempts to get face-time with the man of the hour. Dude was a freaking rock star.

Local photographers have mused about Lenny’s contribution to our little community and to our image as a place to find, dare I say buy, good photography. Lenny had become the face of Taos photography over his 23 years here; all respect to Geraint Smith, Bill Davis, Zoe Zimmerman and a host of able shooters.

One friend, the noted photogravure practitioner, Cris Pulos, went so far as to wonder if Lenny’s departure signaled the end of the photography era in Taos. My not entirely tongue in cheek response was, “No, because there’s never been a photography era here.” This a painter’s town, chico. He’ll be missed as will his beautifully curated and hung gallery near the corner of Main and Main. It’s a simple as that. And we are left with a blight of an operation in his old space; one that is an affront to our artistic sensibilities. We are not pleased.

Up top you’ll see my entirely derivative riff on Lenny’s “Healing Hands” series; the one that put him on the map. Those are Lenny’s two fingers holding his brown fedora with five dreadlocks hanging into the frame. He's wearing Ryan Michaels if you must know. He 's nearly as well known for his threads and dreads as his thoughtfully composed, spiritual confections. 

Poignant image, no?

And, finally, this image and a dozen or so others along with a similar number of Peggy Immel's paintings will be seen at the "Immel + Immel: Our New Mexico" show that opens Saturday, September 2 at Wilder Nightingale. See you there.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Give it to me one more time, and I do mean one

Epic sky above the plains near Miami, New Mexico

By 9pm on Sundays I usually have a clue about what I’m going to post. Most weeks I've been picking at the thing for days and have put it to bed. This edition, though, I'm grasping for the straws of inspiration. I’m also struggling with the absurd concept of “less is more” usually attributed minimalist architect Mies van der Rohe but, in fact, drawn from Robert Browning’s poem “Andrea de Sarto.”

Some have lamented that I will always post nine images when one would do the job quite nicely. Thank you for that input. If I want your opinion, I’ll beat it out of you.

Still on the slim chance there's something to it here’s a one and done.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Westward Ho Moments

Emanuel LeFevre or so he says

The man from Rolla

Last Saturday we took a jaunt to Rayado, New Mexico where we had learned there was a Kit Carson Museum. Though we have our own Kit Museum here in Taos, the open road called and we headed east on US 64, through Angel Fire, Eagle Nest and Cimarron Canyon to tiny Rayado. Do we have names.

Rayado and the museum reside on the monumental EX UU Bar Ranch and are part of Philmont Scout Ranch about which I dreamed in the early and mid-fifties.

At Rayado we found the appropriately named Rayado Trading Post which does double duty as the Kit Carson Museum and is manned by college age reenactors playing frontiersmen and offering tours of the old post. Among them were two young men: one hailing from Saint Joseph’s College in Brooklyn Heights, Nuevo York and the other from Springfield, Missouri. The former, clearly a method actor, called himself Emanuel LeFevre, who came west from Quebec or Saint Louis. Contestant number two, an Eagle Scout, was a student at Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla, Missouri. That's him with his trained chicken Rosita below.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Intimate Details

There was an Aztec ceremony or velación at famed Ranchos Church a week ago Saturday. Steve Bundy, John Farnsworth and I photographed the spectacle in all its colorful glory and yet again I default to toned black and white. Which is not to say that Kodachrome moments won't follow in due course. 

As the pageantry wound down this intimate exchange emerged. As best I can figure these participants are experiencing a cleansing practice called limpia using prayer sticks made of fresh flowers. I found their warm engagement to be brimming with kinship and goodwill, commodities in rare supply these days. And I find hand kissing to be largely missing in public discourse. 

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Not so fast smarty pants

Last week I offered faces in the crowd and pledged more action shots from small town rodeos in New Mexico. After reviewing shots from the Taos Sheriff’s Posse Rodeo I've learned that I have a lot to learn about stopping the action.

So instead, here’s more from the Jacob Mastic Memorial Rodeo in suburban Santa Fe. A good friend in California lamented that she had always struggled photographing her son’s high school football games to which I responded, “I’ve got that wired. Not a problem for me.” Sorry Kathy, that is very much not the case. Mea culpa.

Then another friend, the wonderful photographer Terry Thompson, said that has found color effective in portraying the frantic action of dusty cowpokes at work. Here's one:

This is from the Taos Rodeo. It almost works.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Rodeo Folk

Twice in the last month I’ve photographed rodeos. There’s so much action that it’s a third career just selecting the best sequences of saddle bronc riding, bull riding and the ever popular bulldogging. Then there are the faces of rodeo participants and spectators to which I am drawn.

Because selecting the best action shots is so daunting I’m offering more folks in the crowd today. This despite my pledge last week to share snorting bulls and horses in mid-buck.

These, by the way, are from the 50th annual Taos Sheriffs Posse Rodeo held June 24 and 25.

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Don't mess with mama

I have to say that ranch, or is it rodeo, women seem like a hard-bitten lot. Is it just me but doesn't this mother-daughter duo with forty pounds each of beer girdle look tough enough to kick your effete ass?

These faces in the crowd are from the Jacob Mastic Memorial Rodeo. More action shots next time.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

A sequence of events

Rodeos are fast paced to say the least. It’s rapid fire ballet of man and beast that comes at you hot, heavy and dusty. As I plow through the 2,000 shots from a week ago (and I am bleary eyed from the ordeal) I’ve chosen one sequence from the many I photographed that day. I selected this one because of the billowing dirt through which you’ll see this iconic slice of western Americana.

This is an experiment of sorts, one in which you’ll have to endure a herd of images to get the full picture. You could argue that this story would best be presented in a short video. Alas, that learning process lingers about half way down my lengthy to-do list.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Jacob Mastic Memorial Rodeo

A week ago I drove down the Turquoise Trail south of Santa Fe to photograph the Jacob Mastic Memorial Rodeo. Joining me were Steven Bundy and John Farnsworth, a couple of great shooters and good friends. Thanks to Steve for the heads-up. Last year, you may recall, we photographed the National Day of the Cowboy at the very same Mortenson Ranch.

My mission was hone my skills at action shots, not something I do much of. I clicked the shutter about 2,000 times. Don’t know if it’s a record but it’s right up there. Because I took so many cowboys in action images and have yet to edit and edit and edit them to get to the best 500, here are some faces in the crowd.

Next week there’ll an onslaught of swirling dust, whirling cows and intrepid cowboys and cowgirls in non-stop action. Here's a taste:

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Adobe on the Prairie

Somewhere on the Blue Highways between Des Moines, NM and Branson, CO on my way to Bent's Old Fort I spied the sleeping bones of this adobe farmhouse. The dipping sun cast a gorgeous glow on the little dwelling. At least it glowed in the color iteration which I may or may not have shared with you a couple of years back. Funny thing. I have no fool proof method of knowing whether I’ve already posted an image but, instead, must rely on my steel trap of a mind to recall 500 some odd posts or would need to review ten years of posts to know for sure. That chore, thank you very much, isn’t going to happen.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

La Morada

The newly mudded Morada de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe

Looking back at the path of the cross from the fourteenth station 

La Morada de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe is the mother ship of northern New Mexico’s and southern Colorado’s eighty plus moradas or lay chapels. They were built by the faithful when the Catholic church failed to provide churches and priests to their mixed breed flock in the campo. What grew in their stead in the early 19th century was a conservative brand of Catholicism that featured bloody acts of penance. There are thought to be about twelve active tribunals in northern New Mexico. 

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Ojo Sarco

The unincorporated village of Ojo Sarco lies in a gorgeous high valley east of Dixon, south of Peñasco and west of Las Trampas. Gotta love those musical monikers. Drive east from Dixon on SR 75. Just out of town take the right fork onto SR 580 which becomes CR 69 just as it turns to dirt. A short but scenic journey through red rock country delivers you to the little church and its sagging neighbor.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Tyrrell Errata

Earthy Tyrrell coffee cups on the seconds shelf

Oops! I misspelled Al Tyrrell's name and, hence, web address. My apologies to the talented potter and to you. It would be to see more.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Al Tyrell's Cups

I have one of Al Tyrrell’s coffee cups for every day of the week. I’m a big fan of hand thrown pottery, generally, and Al’s lighter than air tazzas fit my thumb and index finger like a glove. I choose the color and shape of the morning’s cup based on a feeling, like selecting what to wear on a given day. Today's is my newest from last Sunday, a lovely granite and burnt sienna number.

The cups shown above reside on Al’s seconds shelf outside opposite his kiln. Damned if I can tell why they're seconds which is not to suggest that I buy seconds. Anyway, I‘ve used a shallow depth of field because I like the softness and how the image fades into the background.

Al says “Dishes in natural colors created to bring beauty to everyday life.” Visit his studio in Dixon, New Mexico or at

Yeah, I know. With all this talk about colors this probably ought to be in, well, color but black and white's my thing. 

Sunday, May 14, 2017

On the way in the rain

On the way from Malaga to Gaucin by the way of Ronda I passed through a rainstorm and came upon this crumbling finca just as the deluge stopped.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Leave your mark on the world

Last week’s post was a quiet little effort, almost a throwaway it seemed. But then came comments that told me that the graffiti on the walls of the church in Taiban, NM was thought provoking to some. I told my friend, the noted painter Steven Day, that I didn't know whether the sobering verse ending with "I had to kill myself" was genuinely moving or simply maudlin.

I've learned that the church was built at the cost of $250 in 1908 in the town of Taiban, NM and that it served a congregation of Presbyterians, Methodists and Baptists till 1936 when the town withered to nothingness and vanished entirely by World War Two.                     

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Sometimes it pays to pull over on the side of the road if your curiosity is piqued

Inside the abandoned Presbyterian church between Taiban and Tolar, New Mexico is a range of earthly writings. Some like exhibit one above are exuberantly positive. Others like exhibit two are as dark as dark can be. 

Several years back I re-visited Fort Ord, the long closed army base where I partook of basic training in the summer of 1960. There, too, I came across wrenching graffiti in the barren halls where young men laughed and learned to be soldiers. As best I could figure, squatters had bedded down in the decaying barracks and left us mementos of their angst and desperation. 

My examination of the little church's interior walls affected me the same way.

I applaud the message of the headline I purloined from the south facing wall.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Vantage Points

The little church between Taiban and Tolar grabbed me and won't let go. Here's the little treasure from the west and and directly up to the eaves.

I’m experimenting with file size as I try to solve the riddle of Facebook’s annoying crops. Facebook viewers please click on the image to be sure you see the whole thing.

Next week a little of what’s written inside the proud edifice.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Church and Sky

East of Fort Sumner, best known as the place where Pat Garrett plugged Billy the Kid, spread empty flats that are indistinguishable from arid West Texas. Ahead lies Clovis, NM where Buddy Holly recorded his early hits. The ribbon of US Highway 84 slices through the arid steppes with only the remains of tiny railroad towns like Taiban and Tolar to relieve the sameness. Standing alone between them is a shuttered Presbyterian church begging to be remembered. 

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Payback time

A few days ago my friend John Farnsworth posted an image of me from his favorite café cum duck blind in Antigua. Not to be outdone, here’s payback for his entirely too candid candid. Might even be from the same afternoon. Take that, guapo!

Sunday, April 02, 2017

Out like a lion

Last Wednesday Mother Nature threw us a curve ball as yesterday’s 70 become today’s 40 with winds to 50mph. Didn’t exactly need that to tell the truth. Still, look on the bright side. The blustery winds and low clouds gave us this display.