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. 🙂