Taking pictures of the rides on the midway at the State Fair is one of my absolute most favorite kinds of photography. There are bright colors! bright lights! and lots of motion! And, for some inexplicable reason, dozens of folks jumping in front of my camera virtually begging me to take a photo of them. I could maybe understand it if photographers were a rare breed, or cameras were hard to come by — but these days, when everyone who doesn’t live in a cave has a phone camera in their pocket? I don’t get it.
Years ago, in 2006 I think, Ned O’Malia and I led a class on a Route 66 and Photography tour through the auspices of UNM Continuing Education (where I still teach). It was on that trip that one of our students told me that so-and-so (another photography teacher at UNM) had said that no real photographer would ever take a picture of a sign. I remember being so grateful at the time that I was self-taught — I never knew you weren’t supposed to take photos of signs and I definitely didn’t agree. After all, I’m a real photographer and I routinely take photos of signs, especially in New Mexico. There are so many great ones and they often are so evocative of what New Mexico is, at least of what it is to me.
Fast forward to last weekend, when I stayed overnight in Tucumcari for perhaps the first time since then. I wandered over to the Blue Swallow, a Route 66 icon if ever there was one, to see if I might be able to snag a photo of that great neon sign with the sunset behind it. Instead of the sunset, I found the full moon rising over the other side of the Blue Swallow, with the Tepee Curios neon sign behind it. Who could resist?!?
And yes, the play on Ansel Adams’ Moonrise Over Hernandez is deliberate. That’s the kind of photographer he was. This is the kind of photographer I am. 🙂
Happy Halloween and/or Dia de los Muertos (whichever you prefer)!
Christmas Eve — the very sweetest evening of the year here in New Mexico. Wishing you a happy, warm and safe holiday season, whatever (and wherever) you celebrate.
One of the best versions of Santa Muerte ever, in a photo I took last Christmas Eve in Old Town Albuquerque.