Before I entered the old trading post, I wanted to try to make a more complete portrait of what was there so I worked the outside of the building as well as the inside.
I’ve always thought that shooting through windows had some kind of special symbolism, but I’m not exactly sure what it is. Broken windows, to my mind, are even better.
Looking thought the window becomes even more interesting when you look at the graffiti on the wall which says,” Welcome Home.”
No. This is not part of church series. This church is directly across the railroad tracks from the Tewa trading post. It is abandoned. But, it is on private land so I asked first.
Here’s an interesting point about Tewa. The actual pueblo is called Santo Domingo. But, that’s not the American Indian name. Tewa is the proper name and slowly it is being resurrected. In fact, the station stop for the Railrunner is called Tewa.
There is an odd point of history. The trading post was abandoned about ten years ago. It burned about four years ago. But, it didn’t close for business. It was moved. To where? Oh, this is rich. About a two minute walk from the Albuquerque Photographer’s Gallery.
When I entered the trading post, I learned two things. One, the fire was extensive and crippling. Two, there was a home attached to the post. The home was still repairable, but it would take some heavy renovation.
Of course taggers had gotten inside and added their, er, art. On the other hand, the building had been cleaned up pretty well so that I wasn’t climbing over piles of junk. In fact, the floor looked like it was freshly swept.
A couple of days ago I wrote about securing permission to photograph and then photo – graphing the old, burnt and abandoned trading post at Tewa, New Mexico.
I photographed a lot, almost 12 gigs worth of pictures. I imagine I’ll post a number of images from that take. In many ways, I was like a kid in a candy store.
But, to start with, here’s the overall image of the trading post as it appears today. This is more or less the view that you see from the train, either Railrunner or Amtrak.
Dusk started to fall on the car shoot, so I asked the owner to turn the headlights on. That made a much better picture. But, unfortunately camera’s light meter thought that it should mostly expose for the headlights when I was using a long lens. That created a nice, deep rich background. But, if I tried to open it up even just a little bit I had… nothing but noise. It was repairable. But, the idea is not to spend a lot of time “fixing” a picture. The idea is that if you are going to spend a lot of time in post production on an image, that you improve it from an artistic standpoint.
I had a lot to photograph this week. One assignment called for a happy person, couple or group tooling along through New Mexico on an open road enjoying themselves.
A friend of mine owns a pristine restored 1957 Thunderbird. The one with two tops. The one with a removable hard top. The one with the porthole.
So, I borrowed his car, his daughter and him. We went to a place south and slightly east of Albuquerque call Mesa del Sol, which was supposed to be the latest big housing/town development… until the housing bubble burst. There isn’t much there yet. There are the Q Studies for the growing film and television production industry, a pretty much empty town center and The Journal Pavilion.
At any rate, we headed to a road that has two lanes in one direction and one lane in the other. It is also a dead end. So, we drove around a bit. Mostly, we drove at about 5 mph and I kept pace with the car on foot. I even did a little back peddling. My poor old surgically repaired hip seemed to hold up pretty well. The image you see on this post is more-or-less an out take since I needed more driver interaction.
An interesting little tid bit of history. This is the very spot where in 1948, a B29 accidentally dropped an unarmed nuclear bomb as it was returning to Kirtland AFB.
I went to a Indian pueblo called Santa Domingo, which is starting to reclaim its Indian name of Tewa. In fact, even the commuter rail line, The Rail Runner, has already named its stop there, Tewa.
I checked in at the pueblo governor’s office and asked if I could photograph a specific site which was the old, burned trading post. They gave me permission and off I went.
Within minutes of my arrival at the trading post, an Indian (we’ll get to this is a minute) silver artist called Chris, stopped by to chat. We talked a lot about the trading post, which — as it turns out — really was an old fashioned trading post, built in the mid-1800s. It was more-or-less abandoned about ten years ago and burned about four years ago.
About that word — Indian. Chris is a pretty open and friendly guy, so I asked what he liked to be called. Indian, American, Native American is fine. A word like brave or chief is okay. Most other words are disrespectful.
This is really part two of yesterday’s post. The second part of the brief asked for some kind of strawberry product. I’m not much of a baker so I didn’t bake a pie.
Instead, I took the easy way out.
I bought some shortcake cups, some good sweet whipped cream and loaded up the shells with cream and freshly cut strawberries.
I was asked to photograph fresh straw – berries for a client. There are plenty of them around in grocery stores, but they aren’t local. Does that really matter if my intent was to photograph them?
The fruit, itself, is fine. But, the green leaves — which create sort of a contrasting highlight — were a little bruised and beat up. I doubt there is much I can do about that at this time of year since they have travelled a long way and were likely bruised in transit.
However, everyone was happy with the images.