“Typical” New Mexico Day
Posted on May 31, 2012
I’m currently working on a long-term documentary project on the state of New Mexico. I’ve been working on this for several years, and I have several more in front of me until this project even remotely begins to take shape. When I started this project I had a very specific angle, which is what I felt I had to have to keep the project withing the parameters of our industry. Short, concise, digestible, etc. I’d worked this way for YEARS, but in late 2010, after I decided to stop working as a photographer, I realized I had been short-changing myself in regard to how I was working. The moment I no longer had to see this work as a commercial endeavor I felt an enormous weight lifted. In some ways, I finally felt like a photographer again.
I used the work “typical” in this post but did so with tongue in cheek because there is no such thing on this project. What I love about the American West is the unpredictability, and this story is no different. I normally have a solid ideas as to where I’m going and what I’m going to shoot, but now I am totally open to whimsy along the way. In fact, I’m looking for it, hoping for it, etc. This day I was scheduled to descend into the Jemez and photograph Phillip Vigil, a young New Mexican artist who I’ve worked with before. Phillip lives in the Jemez and I wanted to make pictures where he creates his work so that I could get an idea of how the location influences his art. This was roughly a 220 mile day, part pavement, part dirt. Starting at about 7000 feet, topping out at about 9000 feet. High wind, dust, hot and cold. Other elements of the unknown of New Mexico.
I shot black and white as well, but wanted to just show the color here. The final image is strange, and I’m not entirely sure how this happened. Remember the “Super Moon” of a few weeks ago? Well, this image was made the second the moon appeared over the Sangre de Christo Mountains. I didn’t move the camera, at all, as evidenced by the mountain in the bottom of the frame, but yet I had three photographs with the moon streaking off the edge of the frame. I would imagine it is simply due to light reflection, refracting, off of the lens? Not really sure.
I left late morning and returned to Santa Fe at about 7PM. I shot about eighty images with the M9 and two rolls with the M4. Of all those frames I MIGHT have one or two that work. Maybe. But, I’m going back end of the month. Still building.