I flew into Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1999 and visited the Santa Fe National Forest. As you can see from the photos, I was immediately enamored of the way the sun creates such clear and defined shadows. This was before the age of the digital camera, and most people would say this was a silly way to ‘waste’ film, but I still think these photos are a lot of fun.
It was also rather symbolic of my trip – just me and my shadow exploring Santa Fe. At the time I was going through a lengthy and difficult break-up of a long-term relationship, and this trip was a welcome (if short) reprieve.
If the large photo on the left seems a little odd clothing-wise, it’s because I was wearing my jacket around my waist and either a bag with a long strap (dropping the bag to waist level) or a bag around my waist. I don’t remember which bag I was carrying but I clearly remember the jacket because I got such a kick out of the ‘shadow-dress’ that I was wearing in these photos.
I actually signed up for an organized tour (something I rarely ever do) and visited ancient homes built into the stone walls of natural cliffs at the Bandelier National Monument. It was an amazing space. I clearly recall the feeling of the inside of the only ‘house’ we actually entered. In fact I remember the almost-psychic sense of it more than the physical and visual aspects of the place.
What was this sense? The best description I can provide is this: It was as though a long-term family home, which had been both dedicated and happy in its role, had been turned into a limited-visitation demo model and the house itself was not pleased by that fact. For some reason it felt like a place that was fully intended to be used, not toured.
Gut reactions aside, the design of the living spaces was amazing. It was an incredible layout and I found myself wondering why modern architecture doesn’t utilize more of that form of ingenuity.
As for the park and the landscape – it can best be described in a single word: contrasts.
The sandy-dusty desert-like lowlands give way to steep cliffs and mountain. There are clear pen skies, bright sun, and stands of forest providing shade along higher ground. The earth is an amazing red color and the sky is a deep beautiful blue. It’s been 15 years since I visited Sana Fe and the contracts in color, landscape and terrain are what I remember most. Sadly, my photos capture some of the contrasting terrain, but do not come close to illustrating the stunning array of color that remains in my memory.
It’s an amazing place. Visit it if you can.
(C) Adora Myers 2014