Maiello: Defeat the Press
Miami Fans Mistakenly Chant "Let's Go Eat" During Playoff Game
One of the distinctive cultural attributes of the Southwest is the profusion of shrines to those lost in accidents. You see them on the sides of roads throughout our region. As a photographer, I had long wanted to study and present them. Finally, last year, I mounted a show of photography consisting in half of studies of the roadside shrines throughout the Southwest. For a long time, I've wanted to share some of my photography here. This post presents many of the roadside shrine images from my 2010 show. The first is from near Cameron, Arizona, on the Navajo reservation.
This one, from an hour south of Albuquerque on I-25, is amazing. It is typically the most remarked upon among images in the set I did, because is shows the face of the deceased (as the memorial does to passersby); some people like this, and others do not. It personalizes the site, as in my view it should; the site is about the tragedy of the loss of a teenage girl. I present these images as 16x20, and whether in that size, or in person, the overriding impression this picture leaves with me is of mystery. The more you peer into the picture, the more the image fades to black, and the girl is indistinct. That to me is what the image at the site leaves you with, and what in turn depicting it leaves you with. The vanishing.
Here's one from old Route 66, which was the subject of the other half of my show. This one is from near Winona, east of Flagstaff. Many of the shrine sites have collections of personal objects signifying the deceased. With a Corona bottle and a tape measure, this is one of those. There are also some words written on the cross not visible when the image is rendered in this size.
The next is atop a hill just south of the Santuario de Chimayo, New Mexico, which in turn is just north of Santa Fe. Each year, penitentes walk the road from Chimayo to Santa Fe to commemorate Christ's walk to the crucifixion.
Here's one from Utah (there are very few in the entire state). It's on the road to the Great Gallery, my single favorite petroglyph site, about ten miles south of Green River. The story of this site is that a road grader was doing his job on this unpaved road in 1998, when he was accosted by a disturbed individual who had previously threatened President Clinton. The assailant shot the grader dead. The back of this remarkable memorial has soldered upon it in all caps "NEVER FORGET." I take a lot of these, and this is one of my very favorite sites and pics, perhaps because of the remoteness or because of the beauty of the monument, or the way the metal is so organically part of the roughness of the terrain.
On a somewhat lighter note, from a very remote road in northeast Arizona, we have Easy Dave. He has stickers from the Lake Havasu, Arizona Ford dealership on his memorial. It's informal, personal, and warm, tucked away on a little hilltop among arid mesas.
While I try not to rely too heavily on Photoshop, I do use it. Sometimes when there's an image that isn't usable because of lighting, I play with it for effect. This is a Gothic treatment of a memorial in Pinal County (between Tucson and Phoenix), only a few miles from major roads, but essentially in the middle of nowhere. I do not particularly like this image, I find it gimmicky, but the site is very affecting, and people like the image more than I do.
By way of ending on a less foreboding and non-Gothic note, here's one from a particularly lonely highway (the Deming-Hatch cutoff in New Mexico) that features only one small town (Nutt) and an hour of ranches and railroad tracks. I saw the Straight Talk Express parked on the shoulder of this road once. For obvious reasons, this pic is called Enjoy Beef.
I am not done with this project, nor with seeking to exhibit it. I only asked one place if it would, being averse to rejection. I've spent about 15 months growing the set of images here and there, and have many more of these sites in mind to shoot, as I drive a lot for work and travel a lot as well. Hope you liked these. If people find them interesting, I'll come back and do a post of the parts of my show from old Route 66.
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