New Mexican Stardust (10 Photos)
© Craig Varjabedian
Santa Fe–based photographer Craig Varjabedian creates his images with carefully chosen vintage technologies. He relies almost exclusively on a large-format Ebony field view camera, wet darkroom chemicals, and an array of handcrafted Carl Zeiss Protar lenses (some of which are 80 years old) that have bubbles visibly trapped inside the glass. Besides capturing an extreme degree of detail on his 5”x7” negatives, Varjabedian’s equipment—particularly his seemingly imperfect lenses—enable him to translate onto silver-gelatin photographic paper the particular quality of the light in New Mexico. “It’s like stardust,” he has said. “There are times when I feel like I can literally reach up and catch it.”
In the three decades that Varjabedian has lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico has been the subject of nearly 80 percent of his work. In 1994, he published his first series about the state: En Divina Luz: The Penitente Moradas of New Mexico, composed of images of Penitente moradas, the adobe meeting houses of the centuries-old Catholic Penitente Brotherhood. Recently released is a collection of his new and selected images of New Mexico, compiled in the book Landscape Dreams: A New Mexico Portrait with a complementary essay by Marin Sardy, published by the University of New Mexico Press. It will be available at local bookstores and through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
-courtesy Marin Sardy