Southwest Textures and New Year’s Resolutions…

When I was younger, I was never one much for new year’s resolutions. They always seemed a bit silly to me. If you wanted to change something, well…then just change it. As I have grown older, though, I now definitely see the draw of them. The pressures of Life begin to bear down many times, and the new year seems like a fresh chance to have a go and getting back on top of things. So, I think that this was the first time I consciously set out to make resolutions. It’s my 30th “new year”, so it seemed fitting.

We are a week and half in, and admittedly, some of the resolutions are having a slower start than others. For one, I can definitely say that the Wii Fit will be less than pleased with me for how rarely I have been exercising. Also, I have not been reading nearly as much as I planned. To be fair, though, it has been a rather busy first 11 days of the new year. We just had our first major bridal show of the year, and we were out of town for over a week just leading up to the new year. In many ways, we are still trying to recover the energy spent while on that trip.

Another of my new year’s resolutions that is actually gaining a bit of traction is my plan to get back to shooting more photos for fun. Because we are shooting so often for work, many times shooting for fun just does not happen. I need to change this, because being artistic and creative and adventurous is what got me started here in the first place. I am determined to spend more time doing this not for a paycheck, but for the joy and relish I feel when I capture a photo of something that makes me say, “Wow.” Not too sure how many others say “wow,” but really when it comes down to it….these are the photos I take for myself. Of course, though…it’s wonderful when other people enjoy them as well.

While we were on our long Christmas trip to New Mexico and Colorado, I decided to make this resolution, and I figured that I might as well get started while I was there. I set out to do a simple set of “texture” photos, but it definitely grew from there. As many know, I have a love for “decayed” photography….that is, photos of places or objects that have run down, been abandoned, and decayed. No, it’s not some outward expression of emotional sadness or anything like that. For me, there are several reasons, two of which are: 1) I love history, and I love re-visiting and observing places that belong to a previous time…even if nothing “historic” occurred there, and 2) we as a culture are always moving forward through time, but in some ways, I don’t see all of the moving forward as “progression” per se. I think some times when we move so fast, we lose bits of ourself and our past. So, I take time recording not only what we have lost, but the state of the things and places we leave behind.

To some that may sound deep…perhaps a bit over-bloated to others. You just have to love or hate the mind of an artist who uses fancy words to justify what he does!

So, here are some photos of just that. Some of the photos are from a random town in forsaken Kansas, a few are from Dodge City, the nature ones are from a mountain hike I took, some are from walking around the little town of Trinidad, Colorado, some are from an old rusted out truck on the side of a road, and others are from an old abandoned farm house that we drove past en route to Colorado. It was great fun taking these photos. This abandoned house, though, was something special. Both the front and back doors were locked (as usual), so I had to climb through a broken out window (which I do more often than you would think). When I got inside, it looked like the house started to fall apart around the family, so they packed a few things and fled. There were plates in the sink, clothes in the closet, vegetable-filled mason jars in the pantry, sheets on the bed, and so many other things that spoke of a quick exit. I have been in many abandoned places, but this was really the creepiest I have ever entered. Literally, I wondered for a few minutes if I was going to find a body lying in the bed. But, there were treasures in that house unlike I have ever seen. I (along with my family) are antique nuts, and there were thousands of dollars worth of antiques in this house all in great condition. Granted, the walls and ceiling were falling in, and no one besides birds had clearly lived there in quite a while. The calender on the wall showed January of 1982…the month of my second birthday. It was an amazing place.

Because Shannon was waiting in the car, I did not stay in there for more than 15 minutes or so, but I could have spent the entire day there. Next time we are in the area, that is one of the many destinations I have planned to visit.

Here are these photos…I hope you enjoy them, and I hope that all of us can find the way to make our resolutions stick. Or, at least a few of them…we can tackle the rest when next January comes around. Thanks for stopping by.

Joel Conner