Pages

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Photographer's Regret — Rio Chama Revisited

In March of last year, I was travelling South from Ghost Ranch in New Mexico and came around the corner of highway 84 about halfway to Abiquiu, at which point the road meets the Rio Chama river valley. The view was arresting so I pulled off the road and grabbed my camera gear. Venturing toward the edge, I took a moment to capture the scene: a wild New Mexico river valley.
Rio Chama
A few days ago I came across a black and white photograph of Georgia O'Keeffe walking out with her camera to take a picture of the same scene. I looked at the foreground, and to my surprise, she was standing in exactly the same place; my photograph was taken with a wider angle lens than the person who had taken the photograph.
Georgia O'Keeffe at the Rio Chama 
There is something reassuring about someone with such a remarkable artistic eye, stopping in the very same place with her camera to capture the scene. My next thoughts were about what it was that she captured.  Did she use it in one of her compositions? Was it something she printed and placed somewhere in her home or studio?
Over the Cliff made it clear that the photographer caught her in the process of slowly photographing the scene as she worked her way along the rim of the cliff in search of a composition. O'Keefe's painting location is near the top of the rim in a large flat area. On the map, this area has a small dirt access road off the highway.
Over the Cliff, by Georgia O'Keeffe
I realized, after looking at the map, that I had missed quite a bit. I had not taken the time to fully explore and experience the scene. So, I am left with three things in mind for when I go back. I would like to capture this perspective and perhaps recreate the shot that the photographer captured. Then, I would like to find my own vantage point from which I can create a new composition.