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Los Angeles, California, United States
The International Martini Assassin!

Writer. Photographer. Journalist. Nightlife + Cocktail Guru. Bon Vivant. One man PR machine. Event Planner/Producer/Promoter. Lover. Fighter. Artist. Actor. Mixologist. Adventurer. Gambler. Patron of the Arts. Philanthropist. Marketing Genius. Man about town!
Former "almost famous" Rock Star.
Former "discovered" then unfilmed actor.

Posting adventures mostly from west of the Mississippi. The great Southwest, Vegas, Los Angeles & more! Living it up, getting around,sometimes reminiscing with my own unique perspective. Enjoying the finer things in life whenever possible. I work hard, so I play hard. Rock on!

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Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Ghosts of Hernandez

Sure, everybody's a fan of Ansel Adams.
But, not being a big tree or landscape photographer myself, I neglected to discover the "other side" of Ansel Adams! My buddy Rudolfo told me of a famous photo taken of the Hernandez Barrio of Espanola, NM in 1941 as we drove to it's location. I had never seen or heard of this photo, "Moonrise over Hernandez", as Rudy called it. And I was unaware that Ansel Adams had shot churches or neighborhoods, or graveyards for that matter (graveyards of which I only discovered after the fact when finally viewing that picture online). Well now, that is right up my alley! Everybody knows I love to take pictures of Barrios and old churches and... I believe the point of the famous "Moonrise, Hernandez, NM 1941" is the beauty of the moon! Rising! OVER Hernandez! But as it was midday roughly and with limited knowledge fed to me in pieces I just snapped off a few random shots.

A few of the other obvious differences between what I shot and what an excited Ansel Adams shot I see are that well, I don't know if there even still is a graveyard in the rear. This of course immediately legitimizes the need for a return trip, perhaps with some photog friends? Also, there is no longer a cross on the church! Is it no longer the local church? I am guessing by the rising mesa of tumbleweeds that this may be the case. That and the missing cross! Although Rudy grew up within walking distance to the church and still has family in that neighborhood, he was unsure. A quick "google" revealed that the almost 160-year-old San Jose del Chama church has been rarely used since a replacement was built in 1972.

Once a quiet and peaceful neighborhood. There is now present layers of gang tags spraypainted up and down the road. There are no people to be seen. It is quiet at this time and we absorb the moment.

Apparently my shots are from the exact opposite angle, and very close up. I wish I had known the Adams was taken from the highway. I am extremely opposed to duplicating anyone's work on purpose or because two photographers just happen to be in the same place! But... it was and never could be the same photo obviously. So this is an homage not only to the beauty and history of the Espanola Valley, but also to Ansel Adams.So being an opposite I decided to name this series "Noonrise, Hernandez, NM, 2009, I".

I also did not know he took his shot during this same time of year as well. So that just made this little visit more special. There is nothing like fall in northern New Mexico. This was my reason for a warm Friday afternoon adventure. That and a return to my mother's land. A simple connection to my ancestry. It is no wonder why Don Juan de Oñate declared this the capital for (New) Spain upon arriving here in 1598.
My NM ancestors come from that time and place. Juan De Pedraza arrived with this group of explorers and eventually allegedly married a Native woman, name unknown, as with several leaves on my family tree. But if I recall the direct link, it's actually that he married (unknown Pérez de Bustillo) the sister of someone I am a direct descendant of in this case.

The leaves on the trees along the bosque are ripening perfectly at this time. There is a mysterious feeling in the air. The harvests are being peddled in all their glory, sprung from the rich mountain soil. It was a pleasant average of 72 degrees, with a crisp stillness in the air. With the top down on my roadster, and some 70's soul music echoing, these modern explorers left the ghosts of Hernandez for a beer and to recount our latest adventures. I will return again soon to once again taste the flavor of my mother's land.

-Michael P. D'Arco

See more pics at my Flickr page !

1 comment:

Isis said...

Nice photos and write up of you adventure there Mike.