Sunday, April 28, 2024

Galisteo on my mind


Nuestra Señora de Los Remedios


"April is the cruelist month." Title courtesy of Wynn Bullock.

Cemetery #2


Galisteo, NM lies about 20 miles southeast of Santa Fe in the very flat yet scenic Galisteo Basin. The impetus of a midday shooting was time wastage. Peggy was participating in a art equipment sale and swap at the Bluebird Studio in Santa Fe’s horsey Arroyo Hondo. Taos has its own version of Hondo. I had the wheels so I did what a man has to do. After breakfast at the bustling Harry’s Roadhouse, always a fave, I shot down US 285, speaking of favorites, and spent a couple hours nosing around the village of Galisteo. It’s quaint, has a Spanish Colonial history dating back to 1504 and has an artsy vibe. 

Seventeen years ago, we had about given up on Taos and Galisteo was a real consideration till we learned that had no home mail delivery, no internet and the nearest Post Office was in Santa Fe proper. Further, the nearest grocery store was a small market ten miles north in El Dorado. Adios, Galisteo. 

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Jimmy Stadler Rocks

My friend photographer and videographer Terry Thompson asked if I would man the second camera on a prospective video of Taos’s favorite musician Jimmy Stadler, the man of a thousand instruments, or at least seven. Last week we all met for lunch to discuss the endeavor. I had met Jimmy in 2018 when I assisted Terry on another music video of Jimmy’s students at Taos Academy but didn’t really have a conversation.

At lunch I asked Jimmy if he started playing music in high school like I did in the fifties and our son did starting about 1980. He answered that, “I ‘d done five albums before I got out of grade school. I knew what I wanted to do by third grade.” He was already touring when he was still in high school. So, when he graduated, he was already a full-time professional musician. Now a youthful 65 he’s Taos’s number one performer whose dance card is muy lleno as in very full. And he’s still as excited as a rookie after fifty years in the business.

He described  that “I grew up in a musical family. My mother was a concert pianist. All nine kids played music.”

I asked him where he was born. He said Columbus, Ohio. I told him that I was born in Urbana, Ohio and that my dad graduated from Ohio State. He told me. “I think my dad did, too.”

Jimmy lived in LA for five years with his wife, Bunny. That’s what he calls her and damned if I know if that’s her given name. They gave the City of Angels and the so-called big time a real shot before moving to Taos full-time in 1984 as I recall our conversation. I told him I gave LA six months before we didn’t get signed by Capitol Records and my singing partner bailed to return to college and to marry Becky whatshername.

Jimmy’s a whirlwind of energy. It seems like he plays very gig he’s offered. He plays solo, in two bands and is heading to South by Southwest in Texas to perform with fellow Taoseño Michael Hearne in a few days. If anyone rivals Jimmy’s renown in Taos, it’s Hearne and his Big Barn Dance that’s the highlight of the Taos music scene every year. Of course, Jimmy plays that event, too. How could he not?

Plus, he gives private lessons on every string instrument in the western world. It’s clear that he loves to teach almost as much as he loves to perform.

He makes me need a nap.

That candid up top doesn't do Jimmy Stadler justice. I was fighting ferocious back light. I've asked for a more formal portrait session in his spanking new studio.


Sunday, April 14, 2024

At home with the Muratas

Nancy and Hiroshi Murata pose in the entry hall of their amazing Santa Fe home. That's Wolfie the guard dog up front while behind is one of Hiroshi's artworks and the motorcycle Nancy rode when they were in grad school at Yale and could afford one car.

The Muratas.

A glowing black and white portrait of the college sweethearts.

Last Wednesday I had the privilege of photographing Nancy and Hiroshi Murata in their splendid Santa Fe home of twenty years. The occasion was a celebration of those art-filled years in the home that Peggy and I both consider the finest we’ve ever spent meaningful time in. How many square feet make a home a mansion anyway? However large the Murata abode is it’s still welcoming and intimate, no mean accomplishment in my view. The dwelling has a commercial kitchen, a screening room, two studios in a separate building, a guest apartment with a kitchen and bath, seven baths and about a thousand bedrooms. I lost count. Anyway, it’s spectacular and they sold it without our permission. We are highly miffed.

Nancy Murata with the earring that completes the ensemble.

Hiroshi in an unposed moment.

If my mission was to capture the magic of Casa Murata I did a pedestrian job. I was so focused on photographing Nancy and Hiroshi in their best light that the house got second shrift if that.

After the portrait session we met our dear friends Carol and David Farmer for lunch at the estimable Santacafé where Peggy and I first dined in 1993. Nancy and Hiroshi had never met the Farmers and we’d long thought that they should. Happily, they connected like bees to honey. We expect they will become fast friends as was our intent. Luckily, I brought my abacus so was able to compute that the average length of the marriages in our august gathering was a stunning 62 years. The  Farmer’s won the contest at a remarkable 64 years, followed by the Muratas at 62 and the Immels a paltry 57. 

That’s a story for another time.

Sunday, April 07, 2024

Less is more unless it isn't

When I started this journey 18 years ago my posts were a handful of photographs and little text. In that first year, 2006, I accomplished a resounding two posts. It wasn’t until 2010 that I posted at least every week. That has continued since with a whopping 74 posts in 2010 and 2011. Somewhere along the way storytelling became my mission and while the number of images remained relatively constant the written words grew to 500 to 800 words and more in a typical week. Then six years ago I was invited to become a regular contributor to Shadow and Light Magazine. My byline Telling Stories fills 10 of its 100 pages almost every issue, the exceptions being certain special issues like, for example, Color it Red which is self-explanatory.

It took me forty years to be confident enough to call myself a photographer as in “I’m a photographer.” Declaring myself ‘a writer’ came more quickly. I was driving to Albuquerque to shoot a wedding when out of the blue, I realized I was exactly that. Now when asked what I do I respond “I’m a writer and photographer.” The order may be telling.

This is a too long leadup to the occasional post that harkens back to the early days of this blogging adventure. I will occasionally post a few images with little but descriptive text. This entry would have been exactly that, but my verbosity apparently knows no bounds.