Dispatch from Las Cruces

You’d be forgiven for thinking, from these images of Las Cruces, that El Paso’s little sister never quite lurched into the 20th century. Fair. I guess most of the photographs you’d see of this place would be historical, and I’m not going out of my way here to help them whiz-bang with iPhones and hoverboards and color skies.

But Cruces, like most New Mexican places, keeps its magic under vest. It’s a quiet city. It feels like a cross between Albuquerque and Taos, or Albuquerque and Silver City. Depending who you know, you meet more natives or settlers, but I doubt in equal numbers. Small town feel, big city politics. I just spent more time in the fields this holiday.

As the new year shakes the little icicles off its little toes, I want to focus more on portraits. That’ll be tough, because that means either embracing street photography, or convincing more friends to spend more time in my increasingly cramped living room. (So I will spend a lot on beer this year, it seems.) I want to show the fields in people, the Silver to their Burque.

Now that I’m back, and planning to stay for a while, I feel the enormity of the projects ahead. Building a storage/cubby system in my work room; improvising clips and clamps and swivels in my recently minted studio-living-room. I want to set it all up and shoot anything, until shooting tastes like bubblegum that’s lost its flavor. Then, again, the next day. I have twin gifts of a freelancer’s schedule and a steady client paying enough of my essentials. If now’s not the time to lean into it, I can’t imagine when is.

And that’s scary: Doing it means risking. And now’s the time to make room for failure. Because in this room, there’s space for both.

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