This is an image about encroachment and renewal, an examination of what it means to remain.
I’ve always found the absence of right angles in ghost towns interesting; it speaks to the idea that such towns were transient, almost ethereal in their existences, as if the residents knew how quickly the boom would bust.
St. Elmo is one of these towns, and it’s a place I’ve been visiting since I was two. I have family in the area, so it was customary that we took a 30-minute jaunt into Elmo when we could just to enjoy the cool air at 10,000 feet and soak up the history of the Denver & South Park railroad.The town enjoys a boom again now as off-road motorcycles and ATVs pollute the quiet trails above town with unmuffled cries of “blaaaat” and dust that never settles.
Yet the buildings remain, and near the Home Comfort hotel, a white picket fence, trim and lace curtains evoke a time when the steam whistle of a train engine was not just the sound of industry, but of hope and future.
Lucky number seven. I thought it serendipitous that this image met such a number, considering its spiritual ancestry in the style of Paul Strand; while I never intended it to be such, the influences of one’s past often bubble up in the images of the present. Line, tone, shape and texture all held me captive in this spot for some time as I worked to visually tell a tale of a town.
Near Los Alamos is Bandalier National Monument, a site dedicated to preserving the remnants of Native American structures and heritage. On the trail circling the deep canyon that is home to the ruins, I found a small natural window in the blocking stone located between myself and the canyon floor, which hosts the ruin of a large kiva. The late afternoon light bouncing off the canyon walls behind me, contrasted with the cold light on the snow and ruins was too much to resist.