Pink Moon April 2018
When I first moved to Marathon I knew it would take a long time for me to understand the light and know the mountains well enough to photograph them. A friend and resident told me early on, there are 30 pictures of the park and everyone takes them. I too, have taken most of them. Actually I think there is only 22. I relied on what I did know, portraiture. I was enamored with the type of person who lives and chooses to live in this area. Mama and Tony Garcia were one of the first couples I met before I lived here. I have an image of Mama smoking a cigarette somewhere in Study Butte. Mama and Tony would come to the Gage Hotel every Sunday and have a couple of beers. So one Sunday I asked them if I could photograph them. They said yes, and I was thrilled. I was beginning my work. This image was made in early 1989 , and my very first local portrait.
This portrait was made at Ross’s home in Austin. Ross Maxwell was the first park superintendent of Big Bend National Park. I called him and told him enthusiastically how I had moved to Big Bend and was going to dedicate my life to photographing this land and its people, and I wanted to meet and photograph him. He wasn’t impressed and was standoffish on the phone. I begged him and he finally agreed to a visit. I was so intimidated that I brought into the house only a 35mm camera and a tripod. It was dark inside and raining outside. I was nervous. I asked many questions, but got the briefest of answers. Ross sipped on a beer and offered me one, but it was too early for me. I kept trying to get him to open up , and was sweating bullets by then. He went for his pipe and started to light it. I asked if he would please draw on it a few times, and shot four frames. This image was the result. I sent him a print but he never responded, and I called him another time, but he would not see me. He died shortly after that. A couple of things that stuck with me. He said to meet Tom Alex, the park’s archeologist a good man that knows a lot about the park. And he spoke about his wife, who was deceased. I asked him how long he had been married, and he told me how many years, days and hours. I heard Ross never got over his wife’s death. Maybe on this day he was steeped in her memory. (From Big Bend Pictures.)
I thank each and every one of you that is supporting and have supported my life in Big Bend.