10/30/17

Uniquely New Mexico

Uniquely New Mexico: Spirits of the Old Adobes

Uniquely New Mexico: old adobes, week of many observances across cultures of visiting spirits, and especially of Day of the Dead with Albuquerque’s – so far, not commercialized – Marigold Parade, Muertos y Marigolds. Several years ago, during more than one “photographic excursion,” Tim Price and I photographed a lot of old adobes, and Laurie sketched them. Those images sat around for a while, as did some images from a couple of Marigold Parades. I don’t remember exactly when I decided to make some composites. I do remember I had a lot of fun playing. My son really likes the series, so I decided to revive a few of the images. The Gallery, Spirits of the Old Adobes, is at my portfolio site. This seemed an appropriate week to share the images.

uniquely new mexico

Surprise!

(Click to enlarge image.)

10/3/15

2015 Fine Arts Show

Opening Reception at the 2015 Fine Arts Show at the Old San Ysidro Church, Corrales

The 2015 Fine Arts Show at the Old San Ysidro Church in Corrales is so typical of the many things I love about New Mexico. The show is very eclectic, with a variety of art. The artist is free to exhibit his/her art in any style he or she wishes. This is in contrast to the shows that require a specific gallery style (I enjoy those shows also!). The setting is a beautiful old adobe structure from 1868. As I have mentioned here over the years, adobe takes a lot of upkeep, and one of the purposes of the show is to raise money for the maintenance of this beautiful old adobe. It sustained a lot of damage in the 2013 “desert hurricane” that swept down the Rio Grande, and at the 2013 and 2014 shows the building was in such bad shape from that I wasn’t sure that much could be done. Some major repair work in the interim had the Old Church looking great this year.

Two dimensional pieces are hung using strong twine with attached hooks, the twine going over hooks in the large beams. Nothing can be hung in any way that harms the adobe or any other part of this historic building. The Visual Arts Council has worked with this for so long that they have no problem hanging the show with the various constraints.

The opening reception is wonderful from the standpoint of seeing old friends, making new friends, and also being delighted when new friends made in the past year come out to the show. That’s the kind of night last night was.

View walking in to the Old Church:

2015 fine arts show

Inside the Old San Ysidro Church, Opening of the 2015 Fine Arts Show

Friends Tim and Laurie Price have come to the reception every year I have had pieces there. Both had had pieces in shows long before I started entering. This year they both entered pieces, and I personally was happy to see that the show committee hung their pieces in close proximity! Tim’s is the photograph, Laurie’s is the watercolor.

2015 Fine Arts Show

Tim Price with His Photograph and Laurie Price with Her Watercolor

Laurie’s watercolor is her view of the crowd waiting to see the Mona Lisa at the Louvre. It’s whimsical, which shows she has a sense of humor and does not get stressed out by things that are unimportant in the big scheme of life. Later in the evening I was showing Laurie’s piece to a young woman I met this year, Jacque, an exercise specialist from the gym (thank you for coming out!!!!). A woman who overheard me called her husband to come take a second look. They had seen the watercolor earlier and had liked it, but did not pick up on the scene. She said, “Oh, right here is where we were when we were waiting to see the Mona Lisa. This is such a great depiction. I didn’t catch that when I first saw it.”

2015 Fine Arts Show

Laurie Price with Her Watercolor, Showing Crowds at the Louvre Trying to See the Mona Lisa

Tim with his photograph, made with film, of a view through a window that no longer exists. New construction destroyed the building with the window in this image. Tim developed it in his own darkroom, and it is a beautiful image.

2015 Fine Arts Show

Tim Price with His Film Photograph, Developed in His Own Darkroom, of a View That No Longer Exists

Thanks to Tim for the next two images, of me at the show.

This is me with the two little pieces done on aluminum. This image says so much about New Mexico in general and this show in particular. Note the thickness of the adobe walls. Note the trees outside the window still have green leaves. Note the colors of the image on the wall behind my head – the colors of Ne Mexico. Note my little pieces sitting on pedestals instead of hanging. A requirement for this show is that all two dimensional pieces must be hung on the wall, and these pieces do hang. At most shows this would be a big thing. At the end of the evening I was told that the people hanging the show thought they looked better that way. Fine with me – this is a “friendly” show. I did not own a pair of jeans until I retired. For the first couple of Old Church shows I attended (I was still working), I dressed up. I felt out of place, really. Jeans – pretty much what I live in these days, and I don’t feel out of place at all in the Albuquerque/Corrales area.. 🙂

2015 fine arts show

Me, with the Two Small Pieces.
There is so much New Mexico in This Image – Look at the Thickness of Adobe Walls!

“The Observer/The Observed.”
Some photography acquaintances who had not seen this piece before said it was beautiful but that they didn’t know I did art besides photography. I thanked them, and said, “but this is a photograph. Well, it began as a photograph.” I was really happy that they liked it, and also that they took it for a painting.

(The hummingbird is an oil done by Paul Rodenhauser.)

2015 fine arts show

Me, with “The Observer/The Observed”

I have the best neighbors anyone could hope for. Like Tim and Laurie, Burton and Rosemary come to any shows in which I have pieces. This is Burton with Tim. Rosemary had a baby shower for a new grandbaby to attend! Happiness all the way around! I first met Tim and Laurie through the Albuquerque Rose Society. Tim and Burton first met through the local bonsai society. Lots of different overlapping networks in this community!

2015 Fine arts show

Burton and Tim with “The Observer/The Observed”

For me, it was an enjoyable evening all the way around, and I will be out several more times before the 2015 Corrales Fine Arts Show closes Sunday, October 11 at 4:00 pm. If any of you are in the area, think about dropping by.

04/19/13

‘Spirits of the Old Adobes #1’ Recognized by Professional Women Photographers

Spirits of the Old Adobes

spirits of the old adobes

Julie Saul (Juror) selected Spirit #1 for Honorable Mention in Professional Women Photographers’ Spring 2013 International Women’s Call for Entry.

I am very happy to announce that this image from my “Spirits of the Old Adobes” series was selected by Julie Saul, Juror, for Honorable Mention in the Professional Women Photographers Spring 2013 International Women’s Call for Entry.

With over 1300 entries, I am honored to have this image included among Ms. Saul’s selections. The image will be featured in a one-year online exhibition on the Professional Women Photographers’ website.

The image, and the series from which it comes, are dear to me. The series combines images from the Adobe Project with Day of the Dead images from Fall, 2012. Both are very “New Mexico,” and to see the composite recognized by Professional Women Photographers is an honor of which I am very proud.

Thank you, Julie Saul and Professional Women Photographers!

More ‘Spirits of the Old Adobes’ can be seen here.

03/20/13

Stabilizing Adobe

Stabilizing Adobe – easier said than done!

Adobe has been a long-used building material in New Mexico. As noted before, many adobe structures are weathering away, because lifestyles have changed and people no longer have the time to spend on the required maintenance.

Adobe is beautiful, and many ways have been and are being tried to create more stable adobe. This adobe wall shows two things – the adobe bricks are not placed on the ground, but instead on top of a cement foundation, and the wall is “capped” with something other than plain adobe. The goal of the former is to prevent absorption of water from the ground. The goal of the latter is help slow down the weathering of adobe from rain, wind, etc.

stabilizing adobe

Modern Adobe Wall

When we take a close look at that stabilized wall, however, we see that the adobe bricks are gradually weathering away, in spite of stabilization efforts.

stabilizing adobe

Modern Adobe Wall

As I have noted many times before, weathering adobe walls are commonplace in the New Mexico landscape. In spite of my awareness of this, I was surprised a couple of weekends ago when I turned a corner at the Biopark and saw this image:

stabilizing adobe

Wall with Supports

Those are some major supports being used to keep a wall standing! Here is another view of those supports:

stabilizing adobe

Wall with Supports

This close up view of what was covering the wall looks like stucco with cement and/or asphalt, the kind of covering that possibly kept the underlying material from breathing. I suspect the wall supports were added after this covering failed to stop the “melting” of the underlying wall, although at this time I do not know that for a fact.

stabilizing adobe

Patched wall cracking

Adobe is beautiful. It is “natural.” It blends into the landscape. It is “dirt cheap.” Those are just some of the reasons to love adobe as a construction material. But, and this is major, adobe requires constant maintenance.

03/12/13

Thanks to the Worldwide Photography Gala Awards

Thanks to Julio Hardy and his staff at the Worldwide Photography Gala Awards for selecting me as one of their Photographers of the Week for last week. Beginning April 10, and running for a year, I will have work in the Gallery of Photographers at that site. This is a wonderful photography award for exposure of my work.

The selection was based on the images in the last two posts here: “Spirits of the Old Adobes” and “Jellyfish Series.” “Spirits of the Old Adobes” is a personal fun project that I did mainly for myself, that combined in a fun way for me work I have done over the last 8 months. It goes beyond that, however. Every time I look at an old adobe, I wonder about the people who built it, the people who lived in it, perhaps for generations, and wonder where their descendants are now. I wonder what they believed, what rituals they observed, what were the important events in their lives, and on and on. Populating the abandoned adobes with Day of the Dead figures somehow made them feel “complete” to me at one level. I am really happy that the “Spirits of the Old Adobes” was selected for inclusion.

photography award susan brandt graham

Spirits of the Old Adobes

The other series selected is “Jellyfish in the Desert,” the jellyfish I photographed at the Albuquerque Aquarium just a little over a week ago. That also was a personal project I had wanted to do for some time. I finally went out and did it. There is a great deal of personal satisfaction in having those images recognized as well.

Pacific Sea Nettle jellyfish

Pacific Sea Nettle jellyfish

I’ll post a link to the Photographers Gallery when the gallery goes up on April 10. I am really pleased to have my work selected at this time, and to have it included alongside photographers such as Bobbie Goodrich (also in New Mexico), Dianne Yudelson, and Marguerite Garth, among others.

Once again, my thanks go to Julio Hardy, Alex, and the staff at WPGA for recognizing my work with this photography award. The WPGA has been supportive of my work for the last three years.

03/9/13

Spirits of the Old Adobes

Spirits of the Old Adobes

Every now and then it is fun to play with images that were taken at different times, for different reasons, and to combine them for a new purpose.

Regular readers here, as well as my friends, know that I have been working on collecting images of adobes, especially old and/or abandoned ones, or those being demolished. I also have some images showing “mudding,” in an attempt to preserve some of structures. These adobes, in various states of repair and disrepair, are an integral part of the New Mexico landscape.

Those of you who know New Mexico are also aware that commonly seen here are celebrations that are uncommon in other parts of the United States. El Dia de los Muertos (“Day of the Dead”) is observed throughout parts of New Mexico, both through decorations and the large Muertos y Marigolds parade in Albuquerque’s South Valley.

The following images are composites made from photographs from both the Adobe Project and the Border Celebrations projects. I did them for fun. I hope you enjoy them, also.

These images are available for purchase here.

composited image

Spirits of the Old Adobes

composited image

Spirits of the Old Adobes

composited images

Spirits of the Old Adobes

composited image

Lord of the Manor

02/19/13

Photography Masters Cup Nominations

I would like to thank the jury of the 6th Annual Photography Masters Cup for recognizing two of my images from the Adobe Project.

Photography Masters Cup

Photography Masters Cup Nominee 2013


“Abstract #10” and “Casita #1” were each nominated in their respective categories in this year’s competition. “Abstract #10 – Journey” was nominated in the category Abstracts, while “Casita #1” was nominated in the category Americana.

“Abstract #10 – Journey” is an image made from what had been siding on a mobile home attached to an abandoned adobe.

photography masters cup abstract nominee

Siding from mobile home attached to an old adobe, after both had been demolished, August 2012

This image shows the adobe and mobile home on August 13, 2012. The demolition took place on August 15 and 16, 2012. It may appear that the abstract comes from the old VW, but it does not. The VW is still intact. The abstract is from the siding of the mobile home.

Abandoned on the Bosque #2

Abandoned on the Bosque #2. In the background is a large adobe with attached mobile home. That adobe, as well as a smaller one, were scheduled for demolition in 36 hours.

“Casita #1” shows what had been the living room of an old adobe. At one time, this had been a charming structure. However, it did not have a proper foundation and its walls were being threatened by a large cottonwood tree. Demolition was the only real option for the owners.

photography masters cup americana nominee adobe casita

Living room of the casita

There are many images and many stories still to be told from the Adobe Project. This is the first announcement of results from a competition in which some of these images have been entered. I was very gratified to see these two images nominated by the jury of the Photography Masters Cup, and I thank them for their recognition.

Congratulations to all the categories of winners in the 6th Annual Photography Masters Cup Awards. I was very happy to find myself in the company of such marvelous photographers as Mel Brackstone,nominated in Fine Art Nude, Ben Goosens, nominated in Fine Art, and Peter Kemp, also nominated in Fine Art. Very special congratulations go to my dear friend, Patrizia Burra, for her Honorable Mention in Children of the World, and multiple Nominations in multiple categories.

Thanks to the 6th Annual Photography Masters Cup and this year’s jurors for their recognition of these images from the Adobe Project.

“Abstract #10 – Journey” is available for purchase here.

“Casita #1” is available for purchase here.

02/5/13

“Mudding” an Old Adobe House

Mudding an Adobe House

As I have said many times before, preservation of true adobe structures requires regular and time consuming maintenance, something for which many owners of adobes have neither the time nor money. I have also talked elsewhere about the community effort that goes into maintaining the Old San Ysidro Church in Corrales, New Mexico.

Corrales, New Mexico is geographically contiguous with Albuquerque, but it is its own Village with its own unique history, governance, and pride. Main Street, Corrales, is lined with adobes – businesses and homes – in various states of repair. It is charming, and the Village intends to keep it that way.

In 2012, the Corrales Historical Society and Corrales Main Street, with the hard work of volunteers, teamed up to “mud” or replaster with adobe the old Martinez House, which sits right on Main Street in Corrales. This house is not made of adobe bricks, but rather of terrones, which are essentially squares of sod. It is closely related to adobe. The traditional mud plastering is the same. The Martinez House Project is described in detail by Mary Davis in Corrales Historical Society Newsletter.

This is the north wall, and you can see the state of the adobe. For those of you not familiar with the use of color in New Mexico, blue is frequently used in the wood and other trim of adobe structures.

adobe house

This is the east wall of the Martinez House, and you can see that it sits right on the street. It has already had one coat of mud plaster applied, and Daniel Esparza is smoothing it and adding a little more plaster.

Martinez House

Daniel Esparza “Mudding” the east wall of the Martinez House

Before any “mudding” could begin, a formula for how much of what kind of earth and straw would be right had to be determined. Then, the ingredients had to be prepared and mixed.

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02/4/13

Slideshow of Demolition of Adobe Wall

Demolition of an Adobe Wall

Once demolition of adobe structures is underway, it goes pretty quickly.

The images in this slideshow of the demolition of a portion of an adobe wall were captured between 08:10 and 08:11 on the second day of demolition.

02/4/13

“Oh, No! Is She Starting a ‘Save the Adobe Casita’ Campaign?”

“Save the Adobe Casita.”

I had known for some time that friends were planning to demolish two old adobes on their land. The process had actually been delayed for a couple of years by intervening life events that required attention first. Over the years I had taken some photos of the smaller adobe casita, but never one that I thought captured the essence of New Mexico adobes. At the beginning of summer of 2012, after some high winds had ripped parts of roofs off, creating a definite liability, friends Tim and Laurie made definite plans for the demolition of the old adobes on their land.

In June of 2012 I finally managed to make an image of the smaller adobe casita that captured what I wanted to show. The day lilies that had been lovingly planted were blooming, the wonderful light of sunset was falling on the adobe, and the beautiful old cottonwood that was both providing a foundation for the casita and at the same time threatening its walls was clearly seen. I posted this image on Facebook.

Adobe Casita

Adobe Casita

The image started a discussion that, on the one hand made me happy because people saw the charm of the adobe casita, and on the other hand made friends Tim and Laurie wonder if I were trying to “save the casita.” I began to worry I might lose a friendship over that one photo! 🙁 Images have power that sometimes we do not realize!

Not to worry, however. Tim and Laurie allowed me to spend a week in August 2012 photographing before, during, and after the demolition.

The little adobe casita was charming, even partway through demolition. This image shows the view from the front door, looking out on the brown-eyed Susans that were blooming in August, along with some of the door detail, and the adobe construction itself.

adobe casita

Partially demolished adobe casita

But, as charming as I found some things about the little casita, even I knew it either had to come down, or a lot of money spent to restore it.

These images inside the casita were taken 36 hours before the beginning of demolition:

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