29 April 2008


It's been awhile; where to begin? More fotos to upload. Hard drives that are stuck and need some help. I am grateful for having backup. I had an amazing experience at the NALAC conference on arts and Activism on the borderlands. I listen to GUNS,GERMS AND STEEL, a book on tape my friend lent me; I'm amazed at how they come together in my mind as I see the desert disappear into track homes. I study the form of Pecan trees in spring in the south. I am now in the north for a second spring of the season. From the desert to the mountains.snow melted. new buds on the trees. At the Casa Azul the trees are lush and full. There has been many experiences and everyday the unfolding of Chihuahuan culture inspires me to look deeper; leaving Chihuahua and rolling into Sonora and finding myself at a revered shrine inspired the simple act of a daughter and mother to relight all the burnt out candles. I photographed them flame in hand, another match, another light. Someone,somewhere is crossing the border and perhaps laying in the shade of a mesquite thinking of water; we listen to the wind whistling through the metal sheeting of the roof. Empty crosses,broken candles,plastic bags bloom in dry grass, a woman's braid,curled, cut and placed against metal door, hovers over the saints, The blurry faces of photographs smile at me through their faded shades of grey and sun faded color of memories. The homies arrive as the women leave. I rarely see people at the shrines and I am amazed to meet people in the nothingness and bigness of the desert. One of the Homie streches his arms full out expressing the heart of the desert. All of us paying homage to the Spirits and Dios of the desert. Our Lady, St Jude, Christo the cruicified and sweet Santo Nino, our loved ones here and gone.

I wind through farmlands,desert valleys, mountain passes with trucks carrying goods, the additional military presence, the horizon broken by the fence, a long dark scar against the line of earth and sky. I make pictures at the shrine and think about the people I've met along the way this past year. I feel waves of gratitude; I feel tears and laugh too-Calexico always seems to be playing in the background just like in the movies. I get in the Mariachi mobile, my soccer mom car gone south of the border with a dashboard full of saints and a bonafide plastic Jesus and drive the road to NACO where I'll cross the border.
Bien Vieje. Have a nice day. Back in the USA just in time to get a latte to go in Bisbee, eat Halva and a chocolate chip cookie and drive through Tombstone to Tucson feeling like I am writing lyrics for a country song... WHERE did all these houses come from and who is going to live in them??? I am shocked at the new housing development in the desert....but I the ocitillos are in bloom....small firey red flames against desert blue....I end up at the wrong museum in Tucson, I'm at the university Museum and it's CLOSED...so much for changing in the parking lot and being fashionably late... now I'll be really late for the NALAC meet and greet. I finally found the right Tucson museum after many wrong turns and directions like, "Use the force to guide you. You're near but far...it's just down the block." The visual performance recreates what I just saw. Land.Fences.Immigration on the mind. A poet dances. Bows and ends. I hear my name called out. Who could imagine my friends from Puerto Rico whom I hadn't seen in 16 years would be there trading Dicho fortune tacos? Right here in the middle of Aztlan. There are roses amidst the thorns.

I am saddened by the news. The abuses in the world. The craziness of it all.
Abuse of women, girls, daughters, the planet,the war- it breaks my heart and I feel fire and tears.
Life is sometimes like a pinata that gets broken but has no candy.
Sometime Saints and miracles come in small packages.
I break open. I find courage again. over and over. I make more images.
There are the signs and the sign makers.
I learn a Yaqui story at the conference about the universal story of good vs.evil.
During the last week of Pasqua (Passover) that the way goodness over comes the forces of darkness is by overtaking it with flowers. My friend Kelly takes me to the Yaqui Chapel under the freeway in Tucson. A holy place in the middle of the desert shines bright with flowers and all the helping hands of faith, and small miracles.

I break open.
My flowers are my photographs and I am not alone. I find courage again. over and over. I make more images.
I see the beautiful work of Rosanne Olsen about women . Her book is out after three years of working on it.
I hold it in my hands and smell the fresh ink and look at the stories of women.
I see the amazing art inspired by Women. Woman.The Innocence.The beauty. Her resiliency. The Mystery of the ages in her varied forms. I am inspired by the voices of artists and activists. The Mariachis and the poets, the words and eyes of the people.
I am satiated with Dkish's pasole breaking tortillas, chilies, and pass the Dichos on the left handside with my familia.
They make us laugh again....we eat another one.
I am re-energized by the spring sun.
I am moved by love; the shadows,the light.
I feel dispair at times and return to hope.
I am compelled to make beauty....to look at truthfully and openly at my world.
I imagine paper flowers in the desert.

Feminine Mysticism in Art: Artists Envisioning the Divine

This is Who I am. Rosanne Olsen

I LOVE to take photographs. The moments I have known because I had a camera are what inspires me to
keep seeing what is so beautiful even when it's hard to look at. The dance continues. I am grateful to have
the love for images and words in reflect upon waking. I learn to dream. I think of Sam Abell's book that
my dad gave me years ago delivered to me at the bottom of Grand Canyon...

it begins, "STay this Moment...you are so fair...."from Virginia Woolfe

It's Bennett's FIVE year anniversary of her leaving this world. Her death. She an angel flying too close to the ground.
She flew off the freeway outside of Palm Springs FIVE years ago. Her memory and pressence still inspires.Dad and JP,Ted and Rosanne are going down river right after. Ten days in Grand Canyon.
We have a festival honoring her memory and love for pictures and words this Saturday,May 3rd.
We'll foto geek out, eat,play,dance,light candles and maybe set some balloons free with thoughts of peace.
So much to remember....so much to be aware of..So much to reflect on....I don't want to forget.

And that desire--the strong desire to take pictures--is important. It borders on a need, based on a habit: the habit of seeing. Whether working or not, photographers are looking, seeing, and thinking about what they see, a habit that is both a pleasure and a problem, for we seldom capture in a single photograph the full expression of what we see and feel. It is the hope that we might express ourselves fully--and the evidence that other photographers have done so--that keep us taking pictures. - Sam Abell, Seeing and Shooting Straight by Sam Abell


No comments: