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.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Betwixt and Between

Green River, Utah is a withering former mining town just off I-70 in the center of the state. It’s a place that you stop when you can’t drive any farther. You left Grand Junction in your rear view mirror a 100 miles ago and it’s 100 more to the next services in Salina. When you do condescend to take the off ramp you discover a bevy of decaying buildings and the most incredible light come sundown. This little shed at a railroad siding on the south side of town is one such treasure.

973 souls populate the once thriving uranium mining mecca, the site of a defunct missile launch complex and now the potential host of a nuclear power plant. It's a slippery slope to oblivion.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Mesa Vista

Ghost Ranch is one of New Mexico’s iconic locations, all red rock mesas, piñon pines and scrub. It’s makes for a perfect photo jaunt which when combined with lunch at Bode’s General Store in nearby Abiquiu. After lunch jump over to Plaza Blanca for more New Mexico magic.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

It's still life

For three weeks I’ve felt like I’ve had one foot in Guatemala and the other here in New Mexico. I miss the adventure and freedom of being in a new place yet I'm glad to be back home. I've been musing about the nature of travel, especially the kind that allows enough time in a place to feel like you almost live there. It’s like having two lives and those two lives add up to more than the sum of the parts. Two and a half lives maybe or three. It makes life seem larger, longer and maybe even slower which in my advanced middle age seems handy.

Today I get back to the basics of black and white photography with a couple of still lifes, the shallow depth of field barbed wire from the village of Golondrinas which lies between Mora and Watrous, New Mexico and the succulent from the cliff walk in Laguna Beach after a rain. The raindrop flecked agave probably says desert to you not the Mediterranean environs of Southern California. I live for these little misdirections.    

Sunday, March 05, 2017

This and that in Antigua

The cross of the church at the Convent of the Conception

We're winding down on the trip that never ends. Time to get on with contemporary New Mexican imagery methinks. Then again, one never knows.

On the chicken bus to Pastores from Antigua.

Camera shy in Antigua.

Madonna at the market

Volcan Agua at dusk from Avenida 3

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Black and white only different

John Farnsworth lurking in his "duck blind" his iPhone at the ready.

One afternoon I was wandering around Antigua with my good friend, the noted painter and photographer John Farnsworth. We photographed, grabbed lunch at Rincon Tipico and John said he wanted to show me his favorite art gallery in Antigua, possibly the Americas. We visited the handsome La Antigua Galería de Arte on 4a Calle Oriente. It was as fine as  he touted.  When we finished, we darted into the photography gallery next door. I don’t remember the name of that establishment but vividly recall the work of its primary photographer. He, a recently deceased American who had living in Antigua for 30 years, had removed most of the color  from his environmental portraits while leaving the faces in muted skin tones. While I normally find so-called “spot color” to be contrived his were masterful in their subtlety. 

I tried to emulate the treatment here with highly adequate results. 

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Convento de la Concepción

Iglesia de la Concepción

The Convent of the Conception was built on land donated to the Catholic church in 1563 and was completed by Bishop Francisco Marroquín in 1620. The adjoining church was completed in 1729. The convent was considered the most elegant in the region and, in the words of English Dominican friar Thomas Gage, "The other convents are also very rich but after the Dominicans nothing could come close to the ruins of Conception." So, too, was the city of Antigua the epitome of Spanish city planning and architecture. It was considered the second most splendid city in Spanish America after Mexico City itself.

Iglesia de la Concepción from Calle 4

Young Mayas beside the northern wall of the ruins of El Convento de la Concepción

Native Antigueña Juana de Maldonado y Paz took her vows just as the convent was being completed so that she could devote herself completely to her artistic and intellectual pursuits. She took the name Sister Juana de la Concepción. She was not required to pay a dowry because her services as a musician were in such demand. Her father, a prominent judge, built Sister Juana living quarters that were known for their opulence and soon her rooms were full of poets, painters and writers. In 1648 she became the abbess of Concepción a role she filled till her death in 1666.

Among the descriptions of the convent are these numbers: 103 nuns referred to as "inmates", 140 pupils and 700 maids and slaves. Clearly, this was a four star convent.

The reign of Antigua as the second jewel in the Spanish crown was cut short when the city along with the convent and church were severely damaged by the earthquake of 1751 and leveled by the massive Santa Marta quake of 1773.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

More Faces of Antigua

While I collect myself after twelve claustrophobic hours in airborne steerage yesterday here are more faces of Antigua. I attribute the paucity of wordage in today’s entry to the aforementioned fatigue. That and pounding music that reached my ninth floor digs in Guatemala City's Zona 10 till 2 am. I didn't think that was possible.

Maybe just one more.

The Mennonite attire surprises, yes? 

And, finally, big props to the best backdrops in the known world.

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Ruinas y la gente

Antigua is a trove of street photography and of ruins left by the earthquake of 1773. The enormous quake prompted the capital of Guatemala to move from Antigua to Ciudad Vieja and later to Guatemala City. That was a good thing for Antigua and for visitors who can revel in the Spanish Colonial city, Guatemala’s cultural hub. The beautiful town has remained small and its colonial architecture and abundant ruins occupy every block or so it seems.

Today, however, we look at the human stories that prevail on its streets.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Bent to the task

An abiding image of Antigua is that of indigenous women from the campo (the countryside) bent to work from dawn to dusk, toting the heavy loads of life. While their colorful Mayan attire would seem to call for the technicolor treatment, black and white conveys the weight of their burden more fully. And the shadows lend a certain poignancy to the depictions it seems to me.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

I am woman hear me roar

From Helen Reddy’s 1971 paean to feminism to the central park in Antigua, Guatemala the voices of a hundred or so women and not a few men were raised in solidarity and in hope and resistance of the virulent strain of intolerance, misogyny and xenophobia that has swept 43% of our country. To observe it was to be lifted by the joyful noise. Here are faces in a crowd of strong women the likes of which were heard in the millions around the globe.

Helen Reddy turned 75 years old in October.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Por Qué No

The photograph called Lonely Place came in second in the renowned Keeler, California photographic sweepstakes of 2006. This is my fallback post since I will be jet-lagged somewhere in Central America on the 15th and reeling from an excess of cerveza negra consumed at my pocket sized favorite corner bar. Por Qué No.

That proved to be wishful thinking as Por Que No was cerrado on domingo and I wound up at a British pub waiting an hour for a mediocre burger while quaffing dark beer and watching the Green Bay packers eke out a victory over the favored Dallas Cowboys with three seconds to go. One Brit, one Welsh rugby player cum sailor and one Utah Mormon later I'm posting this with only a modicum of interest. Yawn.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

For your perusal as usual

Reflection in puddle, Los Angeles

Looking back at a year of images serves a purpose I suppose. You see what you saw in the year just ended and, objectively speaking, how you came up short and where you, on occasion, got one right. For the second and last time I’ve sorted through the year that was and have these eclectic numbers for your perusal.

Metropolitan Water Building, Los Angeles

San Cristobal and Sangre de Cristos

Andrew Abeyta and newborns

Generations, Denver

Time warp, Lowell, AZ

Silvery stream near Tucumcari

Gnome with ear horn, Bisbee, AZ

Luis at Llano San Juan

Pilings in surf, San Simeon Beach

Sunday, January 01, 2017

A short look back - 2016

Wavy gravy in Boston

Found art at Old Bent's Fort in southern Colorado

Curly Heads, San Simeon Beach, CA

On the first day of 2017 it’s appropriate to reprise some images from a year that is memorable for some and lamentable for others. That’s as close to political discourse as you will ever see on these pages.

Bill Davis on Kit Carson Road in Taos

Corrugated fence in Bisbee, AZ

As I explored the detritus of the year gone by the photographs above and below spoke to me in some fashion and, so, are included in my annual hall of shame.

National Day of the Cowboy on the Mortenson Ranch

Reflection in a pothole, downtown LA

Los Angeles skyscape from the Biltmore Hotel

On Highway 104 between Tucumcari and Las Vegas

Aglow in Denver

Stacks in fog, Morro Bay

Happy New Year everybody.