Lincoln County – Ghost Town Art

I think my favorite images from the Lincoln County trip were the ones I took of old things found in Ghost towns.  My first stop was Ancho a town which was built to serve the El Paso and Northern Railroad in 1899.  Local clay was found suitable for brick making and Ancho is reported to have sent bricks to San Francisco after the 1906 earthquake.  The brick plant was bought by Phelps Dodge in 1917 and enlarged to 16 kilns.  But the brickworks was closed in 1921 beginning the town’s decline.

When the old one room school house burned in 1930 a new school was built of Ancho bricks and today stands in lonely testament of the town that once was.  The school closed in 1954.  A sign points to the school declaring it to be a Presbyterian church now but I was there just before noon on a Sunday and there was no one around.  Perhaps the local ranchers worship early. Continue reading

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Lincoln County – Setting the stage

After returning from Lincoln County I realized that I had enough material for at least three blogs so consider this just the starting point.  The two following blogs will be on Ghost Town art and Carrizozo which won a special place in my heart.

Lincoln County, New Mexico sits at the intersection of the Chihuahuan desert and the Sacramento Mountains.   It is drained by Rio Bonito and Rio Ruidoso (the pretty river and the noisy river) which join to form the Rio Hondo (deep river).  The Hondo flows into the Pecos River near Roswell and the Pecos ultimately joins the Rio Grande in West Texas.  Much of the population is concentrated around the rivers in the southwest corner of the county while empty desert and vast ranches stretch off to the northeast.  Corona, the only community in northern Lincoln County is 46 miles north of Carrizozo, the county seat. Continue reading

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Union County

I know, you had your hearts set on Lincoln County.  Me too.  But I realized last night I was totally exhausted and needed to stay home and catch up on a few things before I went traveling again.  So I decided to exhume some of the work I did back in 2007 just to get the ball rolling.  So here is an essay and some pictures from Union County which I really don’t think I need to revisit given I’m pressed for time as it is. Continue reading

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Why Counties?

I mentioned this project to a photographer friend and she said “Well, I think I would do it by destination.”  But you see that is just the point.  Every photographer who has spent any time in New Mexico has been to White Sands, Chaco Canyon, and Taos Pueblo.  Not everyone has photographed the grain elevator in Clayton or the pump-jacks in Loco Hills.  Everyone gets to Santa Fe and Albuquerque and maybe even Farmington.  Not everyone gets to Mesquero, Corrizozo and Tierra Amarilla.

It is not my intention to document New Mexico circa 2012, though that may be a side product.  It is my intention to expand my artistic vision by putting myself in the less iconic locations and finding the art that is there.  I can’t be everywhere at dawn and dusk.  I have to shoot all day.  Which is fine, I for one am getting a little bored with sunrises and sunsets.

And finally, I suppose it is partly because I am still a Geographer at heart.  I love pouring over maps.  I love exploring new places.  I love going where the road takes me.  Doing it by county just puts a reasonable boundary on each expedition.  And so I go In Search of New Mexico.

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On New Mexico Counties

The thing we need to understand about New Mexico counties, first and foremost, is that they are big.  Only 4 counties in New Mexico are smaller than the state of Rhode Island.  Only 10 of the 33 are smaller than Delaware.  Five counties in New Mexico are larger than the state of Connecticut.  And in some cases they are also empty.  Harding county, for example, had a 2010 population of 695 living in 2138 square miles.  High lonesome indeed. Over a quarter of the population of the state lives in Bernalillo county which at 1169 square miles is the third smallest county in the state.  I’ve added a page on county statistics and a map for your reference.

In fact, one of the reason’s I abandoned this project back in 2007 was that I just couldn’t get my head around Rio Arriba County.  But I’m willing to give it another shot and I think I just need to do a little more advance planning so I know where I want to go before I set out.

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New Photo Project

I’m so excited to start this new project and blog about it as I go.  It is called In Search of New Mexico and  I’ve been meaning to do it for some time (read more under About this blog). I have a photography workshop in Albuquerque this weekend so I won’t really get started until next weekend though I may blog some about where I am going or New Mexico Counties in general in the meantime. For now the first number I drew was 15 which sends me to Lincoln County next weekend.  I have been there before but I always wanted to go back and fall should be a great time to visit!

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