Back before the digital age, photographs were not ubiquitous things. One had to compose the scene in the view finder, fiddle with the various camera settings, take the picture, send it off to be developed and hope for the best.  My friend GA had a post recently about a person who collects vintage dog photographs.

She has selected some of her vast collection of pictures into books, and so I got several of these (I know that I said I wasn’t going to buy any more books, I guess I was lying).

And these books really are quite charming.   Back when photographs were expensive and difficult to make, people went to the trouble to immortalize their dogs, because dogs are important.   As I thought about it I realized that I have jillions of photos of my dogs.   They are mostly of interest to me, but I keep them because they remind me of the love of my dogs.

This was the first dog I had as an adult.  We got him in Louisiana, and he moved with us to North Dakota before coming here.   He was laying in bed when I snapped this picture.

This picture of my next dog hangs on the refrigerator.   I took it here at the house as he was resting on the landing looking cute.   He was sure that his duty was to protect the house, and he did this faithfully.

I paid to have this photo of Miss P taken by a professional photographer, and it hangs in the dining room.  She is wearing her floral collar that we bought for her in Hawaii’i.

This is my tiny vintage dog photo.  It was taken sometime in the 1930’s, and is a bit crumpled with age.   This was Joe, and that is my grandfather holding him.   My mom kept this photograph, and because she liked it I have kept it too.  Because I am the keeper of memories in my family and I remember these dogs.

Another Village

My town started out as a village, the nice place to live without the rowdy saloons and brothels near the mountain.   And as it grew it swallowed up the nearby villages to become a city.    But if a village is distant enough to the city, it stays a village, like this one I visited this past week.

The retired horse-drawn farm implements of the past reinforce the bucolic setting.

I don’t know if this was a livery stable, garage, or store, but I look at it and think that it would do admirably as an artist’s studio.  If only it was nearer to town.   Although if it was nearer to town, it would probably have already been torn down and replaced.

This former store is still full of stuff, saved for a rainy day perhaps?  Or perhaps it was just too much work to get rid of things.

This village is still here, but the train that served it is gone.  I suspect that some of the residents make the long commute into town to work.  And at some point in the distant future, the city will come to swallow this place up as well.

Steeple Chasing Pt. 3

I’m sure it’s great fun to plan a grand church full of beautiful details, but what is one to do without the wood and slate to make a nice tall steeple?

How about a church made of plentiful adobe (mud brick).  This church lacks fancy details, but it is cool and dark inside, and it is still in use even though the modern church building that replaced it is nearby.

But it is not enough to have a beautiful building.   This adobe church in the village of Lamy (named after the famous archbishop of Santa Fe) lost it’s congregation and priest at some time in the past, when the use of the railroad declined.   It still has it’s lovely stained glass windows, just waiting for a special occasion to be put back in use.

This church was started in 1706, but it was modernized in 1793 (when the old church fell down) and the towers were added.  As it sits in the middle of a tourist spot, it has pretty much been left as it was .   It’s a quiet little oasis in the middle of a bustling area (and still has a priest).

The grandest cathedral in the state is this one.   The first adobe church was built on the site in 1610 and bits were added on over the years.  When the first bishop arrived he thought something a little fancier would do, so he commissioned this building.   They ran out of money for the steeples, but there is a place for them to go.

I had never actually been inside the church until recently.  I had read that there was a Star of David in the decorations of the church.  And oddly enough it is true.



My friend GA lives in a village that was absorbed by the larger city centuries ago.   Because he loves the village, he is forever fighting the destructive encroachment of the city.   The forces of commerce continually seek to destroy the existing fabric of the village, and replace it with the shining bauble of the moment, while pretending that nothing has really changed.   To find the unchanging (or rather the slow changing), one need only look in a small village, like this one.

I know that I have taken pictures of this very truck for the past two years.  I doubt if the truck is in working order so there it sits, only the light changes.  It is quite near C’s house, built in about 1895 and a mobile home, which was put on the spot 10 years or so ago.

From the front porch one sees the vacant lot (vacant for at least 40 years) and M and N’s house on the right.  The large tree is in the yard where Grandma lived, next to a vacant lot (also vacant for at least 40 years), then a house with a crumbling prostitute’s  shack in the back (probably unused for a century or more) , and some family homes.

The view across to the mesa seems unchanged.

Until you consider the constantly changing effects of the light and sky.   Like Monet with his multiple renditions of the same scene, one could look at this view every day and find something new about it.

Of course one pays for the unchanging nature of this place with inertia.   There is no real estate jackpot to be made in selling the family home (unlike the tourist city that is further south), there are no jobs to be had, travelers do not stop here, there is no nearby market to shop for things (although one can still buy booze and crisps here).  But life goes on in a steady tempo, at least some families will always be here, I hope.