04 November 2016

Sierra Club Borderlands Presents: Lens on the Border: 4 Photographers Creative Response

Sierra Club Borderlands :  The Historic Y     Thru Dec 14, 2016
Lens on the Border: 4 Photographers Creative Response: 
Krista Schlyer.  Raechel Running. Khaled Jarrar. Bill Hatcher

Sierra Club Borderlands Presents: 
 Lens on the Border: 4 Photographers Creative Response
Krista Schlyer.  Raechel Running. Khaled Jarrar. Bill Hatcher

NOV 4th 2016  Tucson Weekly Review: 
View exhibition upstairs, downstairs and main lobby of The Historic Y, 738 N 5th Avenue, Tucson
 Thursday, October 20, 7pm – Opening reception, meet & greet with the artists. Author and photographer Krista Schlyer will show images and read from her National Outdoor Book Award-winning Continental Divide: Wildlife, People and the Border Wall.
 Monday, October 24, 7pm – Multi-talented visual artist Raechel Running shares the people who have influenced her lens on borderlands unity rather than separation. Her portraits and vivid images show the Native peoples of the region, archeologists, Mata Ortiz potters, horse traditions and contemporary cultural connections to the landscape all united by the histories and geography. Her lens weaves Grand Canyon to Copper Canyon showing us how we are connected in stories and symbols before the political boundary of the wall.
Raechel's border work is in the permanent collection at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, France and her work and collected instruments of the Raramuri musicians of Copper Canyon are on permanent display at Musical Instrument Museum Collection in Scottsdale, AZ.
 Thursday, October 27, 7pm – Much of Khaled Jarrar’s film, sculpture and public artwork focuses on the imposing, concrete separation barrier between his home community of Ramallah and Jerusalem: He sculpted a volleyball from a piece of it, he created a visual crack in it, and he painted a rainbow on it. Khaled will share his experiences making art from barriers in his homeland, as well as on the U.S.-Mexico border.
 Thursday, November 3, 7pm – National Geographic Creative photographer Bill Hatcher is best known for stunning nature photography and thrilling adventure shots. Bill has spent much of his personal and professional life in borderlands around the world, and will showcase some of his best works from national parks and wild areas along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Refreshments provided. A $10 donation is suggested (nobody will be turned away), proceeds benefit the Borderlands program of the Sierra Club Grand Canyon Chapter.
The exhibit will be on display to the public October 20 through December 14, Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm. Free.

20 August 2015

Under Pressure: Stages : With Kate Edwards

STAGES: sometime this past spring 

I can barely find the words to comprehend all of what  these boxes contain and  have meant so much to me ; This photo sequence expresses the evolution from OMG ! overwhelming to moving through, finding the zen spot and then busting on through to the the other side ! Up and through Baby!!   I still have boxes to wrangle but poco a poco the zen moment is here in the chaos all along.   I think I have may have a cigar box obsession. I do have a cigar box obsession - now we'll have to turn it to art!

This was the final day before we made the boxes go away.  
Sometimes the muse leads the way out of the maze just like in mythology ; Here's to the beauty and fun 
A nice send off I'd say ; ) and off to  new beginnings!!
OMG!!! Faint at Heart. 
Overwhelmed. Trapped. Withdrawn.  
Looking out to the world.
Find your Zen in  the Eye of the Hurricane. 
Eyes wide Open.
Bust a MOVE! 
EVOLVE ! Rise and SHINE!!! 

Thank you Katie for being an inspiration and your sunny self ! 

 Its been a process to say the least  to move 50 years of life from the top of the mountain down to the Sonoran desert lands. Angels, muses and interns come in many forms. It so happens I've known her since she was just a sparkle  and swinging in a tutu  between bites of pizza and pepperoni, beers and Johnny Cash when we were all younger and enjoyed porchin it in the evenings at Alpine Pizza.  
Her and I  landed in Tucson just around the same time and we were destined to meet again.   Kate's  grandma  still teaches at Tucson High and I was pleasantly surprised to learn Grandma also  had the lovely Phyllis Hogan of Wintersun as a student when Ms Phylly was herself in high school  back in the day. All I can is it's a small world wonder how we end up where we do and still have hometown connections. 

Ms Katie came to lend a hand as an insta intern,  furniture mover,  feng shui consultant and Muse! 
It was spontaneous and fun to do and watch and feel the transformation of the studio space.  
It was a space a puzzle comprised of boxes of every shape and size for all the stuff of life  all jammed into the once empty studio space.  The hallway has been an ever changing installation piece  and I am grateful to say it has been more or less tamed.  

I am eternally grateful for the team of friends who helped move me through this process; Thanks to the produce guys  for a beautiful collection at Frys, and Baby Bashas on the Hill  that helped in our cause.  Apple and banana boxes were perfect for fitting not too big, not too small but just right. 

19 August 2015

Wintersun : Summer 2015 Hey Joe photo shoot.

It's good to stay soft in a hard world.


Southwest Jewelry & Skincare 
for Men & Women

In the early month of may I did a photo shoot for Wintersun ; We've been collaborating for years ; each time I grow as an image maker - co -creator - The vibe to be cool and positive ; A fusion of classic cultural jewelry and contemporary plus Men like good skincare too ; ) It was the first time shooting in the old Flagstaff Photocenter since it had closed two years ago; my dad walked by and we hugged - we played with light - I was on a cooking job out in Gods Country and switching gears to fashion was a mind bender ; ) then back to the ranch to cook din din for the boys . What remains at the essence is the original streets of Flagstaff and the wonderful people whom we've meet over the years in the downtown, the currents still remains inspirational. So good to create back in the ol' hometown and walk the streets and back alleys again. Asquali Mamichi, Phyllis Hogan and Joey for being our inspiring muse! Stay tune for more art and skincare from the heart of ol historic downtown!
this is the photo illustration sketch process : 

Wintersun ad as seen in the NOISE:

YA! JOE!! 
follow Joe :  http://ruralamerica.tumblr.com

Bio: Joseph Jaraczewski
A grove of aspen trees grows from a single seedling; a vast root system spreads under the forest floor, sending up white tree trunks over the course of centuries. Similarly, Joseph Jaraczewski built a supportive root system across North America. Born in southeastern Wisconsin to a Polish and Filipino heritage, his family eventually moved to Northern Arizona, a land of mesquite, ponderosa pine, and adventure. As a musician and lyricist, Joseph has travelled extensively through the Western United States. Joseph is currently attending the University of Oregon, pursuing a Master's in Sustainable Business Management with the hope of working in the agricultural industry.

17 August 2015

Sojourn Summer 2015 Photography on the Colorado Plateau

WISE EYES From the Bottom up: 

Sojourn Magazine : The Summer issue 
Photography on the Colorado Plateau :
I have enjoyed working with Sojourn over the years and am grateful for the editorial opportunities to develop and explore my work in the southwest and the connections to Mexico. ; I am grateful to be championed by a great editorial team and be in the company of our community of talented scientists, writers and visual story tellers who share their love and knowledge of the plateau.
Gracias to my editor Pam Frazier and the creative direction of Carol Harrelson. 
Editorial friends do check out their call for submissions on their website. 
Support your favorite National Parks and receive this beautiful quarterly publication.

Desert View Tower South Rim, Aritst  Fred Kabotie 

09 March 2015

All the Pretty Horses and the Vaqueras Bravas!!

February 4, 2014 

All the Wild Horses and  the Vaqueras Bravas!! 

My Original Essay : working draft 

The important part of the background of the Colonial Spanish Horses is that they are indeed Spanish. These are descendants of the horses that were brought to the New World by the Conquistadors, and include some feral, some rancher, some mission, and some native American strains.....These horses are a direct remnant of the horses of the Golden Age of Spain, which type is now mostly or wholly extinct in Spain. The Colonial Spanish horses are therefore a treasure chest of genetic wealth from a time long gone.  D. Phillip Sponenberg, DVM, PhD

One needs a lot of faith to survive in the desert. "La Pistolera," Eva Wilbur Cruce, walked out of the darkness of anArizona prison cell into the blinding light of the relentless Arizona sun. She had sacrificed 9 months of her freedom in 1945 fighting for the protection of the horses her “Rock Ponies”as she affectionately called them ever since childhood. The memory of freedom, or the loss of it, must have been palatable as Eva was never without a gun. Stories say she never hesitated to use her gun when it came to protecting her horses or her freedom. In Eva’s memoir, "A Cruel, Beautiful Country," published when she was in her 80s she recounts memories of a childhood growing up on a remote ranch in the borderlands of Mexico and the United States. As a young woman Eva left college and returned to run the ranch to find herself in the middle of one of the worst range wars in the American West as reported by the LA Times. Eva finally lost her many court battles but not the love and her passion to save the horses. Harsher were the ways of man and injustice compared to nature’s indiscriminate balance in the desert.

Eva's horses are the Colonial Spanish Barb horse. They were the noble and courageous war horse of the Berbers of North Africa and later the Spanish Conquistadors. They were favored by royal courts throughout Europe. The Spanish Barb shares a direct linage to the horse traditions of Spain and to Mexico’s Haciendos and Vaquero traditions. The Barbs' compact size, their great lung capacity, and agileness on the rocks made them the perfect companion for long distant explorations into the unknown frontier. Eva's strain of the Spanish Barb came in 1687 with the Jesuit missionary Eusebio Kino, "The Padre on Horseback." Kino rode over 50,000 miles exploring, mapping and saving souls, establishing a network of twenty four missions and ranches in the northern frontier of New Spain, now the borderlands of Mexico and the southwestern United States.

Security never came later in life for Eva or the horses with the sale of the ranch to the Nature Conservancy. Eva’s rock ponies, were endangered again slated for removal or slaughter. Synchronicity, a chance of fate, it just so happened wildlife biologist Steve Dobrott, had just finished reading Eva’s book. Dobrott wondered if the horses were related to the horses of Padre Kino. Calls and tests were made. Dr. Phillip Sponenberg,
DVM, Ph.D. confirmed the rare genetics of the Wilbur Cruce horse strain as “critically endangered” by the Livestock Breeds Conservancy. The genetics of the Colonial Spanish Barb horses is one of the rare strains scientifically verified to be of the
direct descendants of the very first horses reintroduced to America and of Padre Kino’s breeding stock. Eleven thousand years ago the vast wild horse herds disappeared from the continents of North and South America. Presently a 2014 census registers just more than 150 Spanish Barbs in the world. The Wilbur Cruce horses were saved by the miracle of Eva’s stories.

The Spanish Barb Association was formed and brought together people passionate about conservation and preserving the lineage of the Barb and it’s special place in history. These people inspired and seasoned by the elements and the landscapes they call home and have chosen to live life in a similar cadence with their horses. Each lives in a location remote and spacious where the Apaches of Geronimo and Cochise roamed; where the Spaniards explored and where the ancient Hohokam and Mogollon Native cultures left signs in fragments of obsidian and grinding stones. Breeders and owners agree, the "animas" or the "spirit" of the Spanish Barb horse is inspiring as their personal affection and bonding with it’s rider are endearing. “One of the most important things about saving the Spanish Barbs is their genetic diversity which is more diverse than all modern breeds. The characteristics of the modern Barb is very similar to the Barbs described in the 14th century," says breeder, Marjorie Dixon. She and her husband Jerry raise descendants of the WilburCruz Barbs at their ranch in Arizona's Dragoon mountains near Tombstone. In 2011 Arizona's then Governor Jan Brewer declared the Spanish Barb as the official horse of State of Arizona.

Heidi Collings and her husband Jerry also breed and train their Barbs on their ranch in the oak and piñon country of New Mexico. “When we realized how rare these animals were, we knew it would be a huge loss if their important genetics were not preserved to share in the future. This is what compelled us to become conservation breeders ourselves" as Heidi throws a couple bails of hay into the back of the truck and smiles at the horses as they gather round to feed. “We have never encountered another breed that is so easily trainable, companionable, loyal & sensible.” Dr. Louise Cash of the Red Hat Healing Center offers chiropractic treatments for riders and horses in her office in Silver City and out on her ranch in the Mimbres Valley. “As an equine chiropractor I had adjusted a few of Heidi Collings’ Barbs before I even knew about the breed. I came to appreciate their strong & dense bones, healthy feet, and levelheadedness. These horses "think things through." Her partner, Bob Shelley, a 4th generation rancher, traded in his quarter horse, the common ranch horse of the West, for a Barb because,“they’re good on the rocks and get the job done.”

Silke Schneider is also a woman who appreciates freedom. As a young woman in Germany, Silke ran off to join a circus. Later she found herself horse trekking 1200 miles on old horse trails and then working horses in the Australian outback before calling New Mexico home. She also wrote a book, “Arizona’s Spanish Barbs, the Story of the Wilbur Cruce Horses." As cofounder of the Drylands Institute, she advocates the preservation of heritage livestock breeds in-between her work as a kindergarten teacher and time riding her Spanish Barbs.

Back in Sonora, Mexico, dusk has fallen on the Santa Cruz River at the Rancho Santa Barbara, one of Padre Kino's cattle ranches. The ranch is being restored by international lawyer Luis Parra and his family. Luis notes the connections of the past to the present. “The Spanish Barbs are an intricate part of our heritage in the Arizona Sonora Borderlands considering their contribution throughout history. Spanish Barbs blazed trails for the early Spanish explorers in North America and now through equine therapy they endeavor to provide joy and comfort to our handicapped youth.” The mountains are a pink gold in the distance in the last light of the day. Up above the river, grave sites of previous generations are worn beyond description and time as the young vaquero Ricardo heads home riding into the setting sun his horse a descendant of the Spanish Barb.

What is rare and perfect in this world is the legacy of the Spanish Barb. The advocacy for freedom and diversity are treasures worth protecting. Eva passed her final days of winter stoking a humble wood fire in her small adobe house in urban Tucson. It was impossible to take the ranch out of the girl whose first love was the land and the horses.

“Throughout history, agriculturalist have been stewards of the genetic legacy passed to succeeding generations.  What took centuries to develop can be lost in our lifetime. If lost, it cannot be recreated. Only a commitment to stewardship will protect this genetic legacy for future generations. “     American Livestock Breeds Conservancy.

Mil Gracias to my editor Jesus Huarte for championing my stories of the US/Mexico Borderlands and Conservation.  



Tumacacori Mission AZ

Desert Caballero Museum, Wickenberg, AZ  spring 2015
Cowgirls with A Camera Exhibit:
March 10, 2015 noon
Talk with Maureen Kirk-Debetner on the Spanish Barbs

Spanish published essay:
IBERIA Airlines:  Excelente Magazine March 2015: 

BOOKS of Interest:




The ecstasy sandwich of seeing your hard work and passion in print for the first time. From the lens and life of Eugene Smith.  It is not unfamiliar to the great writers and photographers. Things get misconstrued. . The life we learn out in the field is often presented differently in editorial form.You give it your best and still have to do the work believing maybe a few photographs can help change the way people see the world and value life. Much gets lost in translation and you just got to keep to the doing of the thing; your work, your expression and follow the story lines.

In the spirit of the documentary tradition and the struggle we all face when seeing our work in print for the first time.  Insight into the life of photographer Eugene Smith whose work has been a a great influence.

16 June 2014

Overlander from Down Under in Barrio Viejo with Mark Shea

Overlander from Down Under in Tucson with Mark Shea 

Notes from the barrio.

Mark Shea  editing before the next leg of his journey across the USA.
Mark interviews Vanda J Pollard in Barrio Viejo, Tucson,AZ
Sometimes it takes a visitor to help you see your world anew and learn more about the place called home. The history of Barrio Viejo unfolds and takes ahold. I am learning even more about this compelling shrine just a few blocks away from where I live. It still captivates me just as it did the very first time friends Keith and Carli walked me through their world.

Yes it is hot in the desert this time of year. I've heard if you're a local you're not suppose to talk about the heat. I am still settling into new ground.  In our little pocket of our barrio Viejo my vecina(neighbor) Vanda Gerhart  hosted fellow digital story teller Mark Shea, an Aussie global explorer in his post Vegas recovery. As they say, what happened in Vegas stays in Vegas or you can check out the videos. They joined me for my 49th birthday Mexican dinner sharing the finer detailers of Greyhound travel and stories of far away lands; food;biology;history; Irish immigration;mesquite harvesting. The local history of the  El Tiraditio, the Shrine of the Unforgiven caught fire his imagination.Next thing I knew we were standing in a 100+ degrees  on revered ground making a video.


Mark  has since discovered in less than 24 hours more details about the event of the shrine and fleshes out the story far more than the plaque could ever explain. After our interview I thought of more things I would have like to say in less than two minutes.

The Tiradito still brings me great hope and comfort to many people who come to visit.He is perhaps like an old friend to share your troubles and stories to. For such a tragic event the shrine of the Unforgiven offers an eternal refuge of compassion for  people of all walks of life and beliefs.  People in Tucson gathered at the shrine after  the tragic shooting and miraculous recovery of Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords  made international headlines and contributed to the dialogue of the ongoing debate about gun control in America. 

Barrio Viejo poet Issak Kirkman at El Tiradito, The Shrine to the Unforgiven in Tucson, AZ.
The love and empathy felt here in this ancient altar of adobe comprises years of devotion. His Spirit and a cast of other Divine intermediaries, saints and personal totems create an ambiance of reflection that the veils between worlds isn't too far especially where love is concerned. Even in middle of the day I am blinded by such tender expressions of love and a much larger faith standing under the hot desert sun. The old adobe wall looks like it is weeping. St. Jude, St. Francis, Our Lady, the photos of family members, beloved strangers all are gathered in the notes, flowers and dust of the seasons. The salt of tears and the wax of so many candles over the years seep through the wall and seal the ground. How nice it was to meet a fellow traveler and share a part of Tucson that still captivates us with mystery.

In less than 48 hours we shared my 49th birthday dinner. We were both inspired to see Mark's social media process and each had our ah ha moments. He blew us away with his media savvy. In less than two hours a story idea was locked and loaded at Vanda's work table. He Shot it. Edited it. Compress it. Upload it and share it with his followers - bing bang boom!  Next thing I knew,  they were off  in the opposite direction of the setting sun heading east with Vanda at the helm to get him closer to his next destination. From the roadtrip notes looks like he's somewhere  in the middle of nowhere  in the wild west of New Mexico. Closer but still has further to go. Gracias Mark for sharing some of our local southwest history with your readers. Have a great odyssey gathering stories from across the USA! A Dios Bendiga!

Here's a song about our Barrio Viejo sung by Lalo Guerrero born and raised here.

Follow the journey : 

The Aussie Overlander Mark Shea Travel Blog: 

Stay tune for the interview with my vecina Vanda Gerhart and her work documenting international food traditions and cultures. 

Vanda J Pollard

For more information on Tucson's Barrio Viejo visit the Pilita Museum next door or have a meal at El Minuto Cafe.

03 April 2014


I often reflect on this essay Nothing Personal when I need a shot of faith to renew my conviction to see the world through a camera and aspire for mastery of words like Baldwin. I wonder what they were like in high school, what they discussed and they found each  other.

I wish everyone could read this essay to grasp the history of America as we repeat ourselves again. I am  inspired by their dedication to tell the truth in their own language. Each is strong unto itself but together the images and the words synthesis a stronger meaning.

I would love to hear the words  read over the photographs ; some one like Morgan Freeman.
It was great to discover these little videos looking at books and also find the original essay.
The book is a rare find these days.

James Baldwin with Richard Avedon's portraits: Nothing Personal 1964

"The light that's in your eyes reminds me of the skies that shine above us every day-so wrote a contemporary lover, out of God knows what agony, what hope, and what despair. But he saw the light in the eyes, which is the only light there is in the world, and honored it and trusted it; and will always be able to find it; since it is always there, waiting to be found. One discovers the light in darkness, that is what darkness is for; but everything in our lives depends on how we bear the light. It is necessary, while in darkness, to know that there is a light somewhere, to know that in oneself, waiting to be found, there is a light. What the light reveals is danger, and what it demands is faith. " James Baldwin

A book designed to be seen like  a symphony is meant to be heard.