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Red Rock-New Mexico

Red Rock is an image taken near Abiquiu, New Mexico in February 2000. Georgia O'Keefe made this area famous with her landscape oils. I spent a week with Santa Fe Workshop's instructor, Eddie Soloway, and a group of 12 photographers concentrating on New Mexico's winter landscape. We spent an afternoon in an area called Red Rock with the assignment of trying to capture the essence of the place. I was excited by the landscape. I searched a lot....almost frantically, but I couldn't find any images. I had a good camera, some good training, some good experience, and a world famous landscape...and I couldn't find anything to shoot. The landscape was so different than any place I had seen before, and the O'Keefe paintings so strong in my mind that I couldn't see anything except her paintings...and I didn't want to try to shoot her paintings. The afternoon produced nothing. I was bothered by the experience. After the workshop, I went back to Red Rock and spent a day in a 20 square foot area. I left the camera in the bag. I stopped searching for images to shoot. I sat and opened up my senses...listened to the breeze brush the shrubs...looked carefully at all the color, not just red rock and blue sky...smelled the savory plants...touched the gritty rocks...tasted the dry, dusty air... and took the place in. By mid-day, the images found me. I took the camera out slowly as if I would frighten them away if I moved too abruptly. Once those images found me, they came to me in such overwhelming numbers that I couldn't capture them all. And, I never moved beyond the 20 square feet. This image of the red rock and silver branch is the last image I shot before sunset. When I look at the image now, I can smell, taste, feel, hear, and see the place as if I was there.

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