Las Vegas, New Mexico, January 1984

Text from Aperture’s 40th Anniversary issue, 1992

Sofia lived in a small adobe house on a dusty back road across the tracks in Las Vegas. When I knocked on her door early one winter morning in 1984, Abelino was still getting dressed. He let me in, promised me coffee, and left me to wait in Sofia’s pale green living room. In one dark corner, a portable, black-and-white television glowed and squawked. Beneath it, Sofia had con-structed a shrine out of the shell of the original family set. Some company made that big television as a box for transmit-ting stories, and when the box was worn out, its stories were dis-carded and replaced by perhaps the oldest story in the world: one woman’s appeal to God and his saints to watch over her family, to keep them safe. Yet this same woman placed the ulti-mate, profane twentieth century plastic object right there on top of it’s sanctified wooden cousin.
This photograph reveals a leap of faith, a creative human act to place religion at the heart of every-day life. For me this picture also speaks to the luck and fate that twenty years ago led a young man with a camera into what seemed the altogether exotic world of Hispanic northern New Mexico. I lived in that world until my life somehow merged with the lives I photographed, until I became part of the story I am trying to tell. It is an image that extends an old adage, a photograph that declares how fundamental seeing is — not just for artists and photographers, but for all of us. Seeing is believing. Alex Harris

  1. Las Trampas, New Mexico March 1984
  2. George and Oralia Romero's Front Porch, El Valle, New Mexico, August 1980
  3. Amadeo Sandoval's kitchen and bedroom, Río Lucío, New Mexico, June 1985
  4. Penasco, New Mexico, July 1981
  5. San Lorenzo Fiesta, Penasco, New Mexico, August 1985
  6. Ojo Sarco, New Mexico, July 4th, 1986
  7. Jacobo and Eloisa Romero, El Valle, New Mexico, March 1982
  8. Tomás Montoya's bedroom, El Valle, New Mexico, August 1985
  9. Bialquín Pacheco's house, Vallecíto, New Mexico, May 1982
  10. Hong Kong Lounge, Las Vegas, New Mexico, looking north from Richard Lucero's 1972 Buick Centurian, July 1987
  11. Camposanto, El Valle, New Mexico, August 1986
  12. Onésimo and Eleanor Pacheco's house, Vallecíto, New Mexico, May 1985
  13. The High Road looking west from Prisoner's Curve, February 1987
  14. Las Trampas, New Mexico, looking east from Leví Lovato's 1972 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, July 1987
  15. Las Vegas, New Mexico, Looking east from Myles Sweeney's 1960 Chevrolet Impala, July 1987
  16. Furr's parking lot, Saturday Night,  Espanola, New Mexico, looking south from J. R. Roybal's 1966 Chevrolet Caprice, Feburary 1987
  17. Las Vegas, New Mexico, January 1984
  18. Amadeo Sandoval's Living Room, Río Lucío, New Mexico, July 1984
  19. Amadeo Sandoval's living room, Río Lucío New Mexico, June 1985
  20. Amadeo Sandoval's Kitchen, Río Lucío, New Mexico, June 1985
  21. Black Mesa, New Mexico, looking east from Fred Cata's 1957 Chevrolet Belair, July 1987
  22. Sombrilllo, New Mexico, looking south from Ben Vigil's 1952 Chevrolet, August 1986
  23. Amadeo Sandoval’s Kitchen and Bedroom, Río Lucío, New Mexico, June 1985
  24. Teodoro Griego's house, Llano Largo, New Mexico, January 1982
  25. Celledonio Gallegos's house, Llano de San Juan, New Mexico, June 1985
  26. The Edge of the Great Plains, ten miles north of Las Vegas, New Mexico, July 1987
  27. Rodarte, New Mexico, looking south from Fred Martinez's Chevrolet, Impala, April 1987
  28. Truchas, New Mexico, August 1984
  29. St. Martin de Porres and the Virgin Mary, Rosenda Medina's house, Penasco, New Mexico, December 1986
  30. Llano Arriba, El Valle, New Mexico, November 1986
  31. Onésimo and Eleanor Pacheco's House, Vallecito, New Mexico, April 1987
  32. Genera Gurule's House, Penasco, New Mexico, August 1985
  33. Chamisal, New Mexico, looking east, November 1980
  34. El Valle, New Mexico, looking west from Pollyanna Leyba's 1972 Chevrolet, July 1987
  35. Llano San Juan, New Mexico, August 1981
  36. Chamisal, New Mexico, looking north from Juan Dominguez's 1957 Chevrolet Impala, July 1987