Spring / Summer, 2004

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Date: Sunday, April 18, 2004
Topic: First log entry -- why I like the middle of nowhereYeso, New Mexico

Photo:  Yeso, New Mexico
(4/15/04--click for larger version)

Yeso is about the only sign of civilization in the vast space between Ft. Sumner and Vaughn, New Mexico. There is a U.S. Post Office (in a trailer) and, perhaps, a couple of occupied dwellings, but most of the population left years ago when it became evident that farming here wasn't really economically feasible.  While I would still call it a ghost town, it is not a really old one and many abandoned buildings such as this old hotel remain standing.

If farmers weren't such optimists there probably would have never been a Yeso.  The 350 people that were here in 1940 certainly didn't come here for an easy life or the scenery.  This is a harsh place.  Even its name, which is Spanish for gypsum, makes me think of unproductive land and bad tasting water.  The buildings here represent the hopes and aspirations of people that were willing to work long hours and endure hardships.  I like to think that a photograph documenting them is like a small memorial to that spirit.

It was typical West Texas / Eastern New Mexico weather when we were there -- hot, dry and very windy.  I took a chance and waited for a slight break in the wind make this image.  


Date: Wednesday, April 21, 2004
Topic:  Mesas and Open Spaces

Photo:  Getty's Memorial Baptist Church, Cuervo, New Mexico
(4/16/04--click for larger version)

Church, Cuervo, NMCuervo, New Mexico was a Route 66 town.  There's not much left except empty buildings.  This church was out past the edge of town at the end of a dirt lane.  I don't know anything about the  church and haven't been able to find anything about it on the internet.   If you do,  I hope you will email me.  The main church is made of stone, but the attached building to the right appears to be a parsonage made of crumbling adobe brick.

Eddie Jo, Duke and I had left Santa Rosa early hoping for some nice light.  However, as soon as the sun came up it quickly became hot and the light contrasty  There wasn't a cloud in the sky.  I don't consider this to be much more than a record shot.

For some reason, I've always found this part of the country appealing.  The view of the mesas out the back of the church is awesome.  I'd love to come back to this area for landscapes when the lighting conditions were more favorable.

Date: Monday, July 5, 2004
Time: 12:55:50 PM
Topic: PhotofustrationHigh Noon in Medicine Mound, Texas

Photo:  High Noon in Medicine Mound, Texas
(6/26/04--click for larger version)

Somehow I really messed up developing this photo of Medicine Mound. I kind of liked the idea of showing it in the mid-day heat, but just when I really needed to reduce the contrast, the negative looks like it was a little overdeveloped. Anyway, it is hard to print. In fact, I'm still working on the final print. It'll be OK -- I just don't like having to work that hard.

You almost have to be going to Medicine Mound to wind up there. It can be easily reached from the north or east, but, because of rough breaks and the Pease River to the south and west, it is really not on a through route to anywhere. Medicine Mound is above the breaks on a relatively flat plain. Just to the west, looking eerily out of place, are four dolomite hills called "Medicine Mounds". Supposedly, Comanche and Kiowa indians that camped in the area believed the hills had healing properties. 

Date: Monday, July 5, 2004
Time: 12:55:50 PM
Topic: Photofustration

Photo:  Hicks & Cobb Store, Medicine Mound, Texas
(6/26/04--click for larger version)
Hicks & Cobb, Medicine Mound TexasPeople began to move into this area in the1870s and, at its peak, Medicine Mound had about 22 businesses.  In 1927, brothers-in-law Lon Cabb and Ira Hicks opened a general merchandise store.  That store along with the rest of the town was destroyed by fire in 1933.  This building and the gas station in the above entry were built from cobblestones hauled from the Witcha Mountains in Oklahoma.  However, the town never really recoved from the fire and the depression and only these two buildings remain.

Thanks to the efforts of Myna Potts, daughter of one of the founders, the store is now full of all kinds of
memorabilia from the town's past.  She drives over from Chillicothe to keep the store open on Saturday mornings.  Ms Potts is a gracious hostess and the place is certainly worth a visit.

I love places like Medicine Mound because I hate crowds -- especially when I'm trying to do photography.  I set up my heavy tripod in the middle of the street knowing that there probably wouldn't be any traffic and, if someone did come along they would most likely pull around me and wave like they do when you meet them highway.  There's not a lot of road rage in Medicine Mound. 

Date: Thursday, August 26, 2004Building, Bennington, Vermont
Time: 12:55:50 PM
Topic: A change of pace. .

Photo:  Building, Bennington, Vermont
(8/13/04--click for larger version)

Well, just down the road from Medicine Mound is. . .just kidding.

In August, Eddie Jo and I made a quick trip to upstate New York.  We only carried a 35mm because there wouldn't be time to do more than make vacation snapshots.  However, I'd love to come back to this area with larger format equipment and lots of time.

I was trying to find a spot to made a tourist shot of the historical First Church in Bennington, Vermont when I spotted this building.  It's a much larger than it looks from the photograph and I would guess it to be an old hotel.

Go to Fall / Winter, 2004

All Text and Images © Joe Miller, 2004