Selected photographs from
RED WHITE BLUE AND GOD BLESS YOU: A PORTRAIT OF NORTHERN NEW MEXICO
For two decades, living in a beautiful and isolated place, among Americans with a distinct language, character, and culture, I have often felt myself an expatriate in my own country.
Many American writers, photographers, and painters decide to leave the familiar in hopes of gaining insight and perspective in another land. Some flee the values and prejudices of provincial America to bask in what seems a more sophisticated foreign light. To harvest their art, others cultivate isolation in a place where responsibilities are few and time for work is ample. For still others, the new country itself is the primary interest. They want to enter and explore it, to render it, to come to know it in every way possible. If they are welcomed, if doors are opened to invite them inside, they may feel so at ease in new rooms, so immersed in another life, that the adopted country begins to look and feel like home, while the country of their birth seems foreign or strange.
Alex Harris, from the introduction to Red White Blue and God Bless You, 1992
Margaret and I spent the day at Amadeo’s house, photographing it inside and out. The metamorphosis was dramatic and sad. Before, the interior was like the One Hundredth Psalm: “A joyful noise unto the Lord.” Now it seemed like Job’s plea. A once-blessed but now-forsaken man had tried to keep living in these rooms, but finding the memory of his wife on every surface, he had torn out walls and ceilings, moved furniture and doorways. An unhappy man, guided by a somber religious vision, used every bit of his skill as a carpenter and painter to try to go on with life and to retain his faith. On this visit, Magdalena’s favorite chair was nowhere to be seen. Unlike Job, Amadeo would not again be blessed in this world.
from the introduction to “Red White Blue and God Bless You”