Between Land and Sky :
In December, 2014, my truck broke down in Globe.
I was met, repeatedly, with unusual generosity, and struck by the faces, and stories, of those I met:
an O’Reilly Auto employee, also a lay minister, now ordained, who had found faith only three years earlier,
a single father mechanic, who had begun teaching his son go kart racing, at age four,
father and son cattle ranchers, who, with their father and sons, worked both on and off the ranch, to sustain it, for the fifth generation; a landscaper, raising her granddaughter.
I began this series of portraits and landscapes, in the mining and ranching country, east of Phoenix.
Miami, Globe, and Hayden were built on mineral wealth; silver copper, and gold. Mining and ranching have persisted since the 1860s; both land based economies. Cattle graze on mine land. Ranchers may work additionally for the mines.
I began to photograph three extended families:
four generations of ranchers, a single father mechanic and his sons, who are also stock car and go kart racers, and the pastor and parishioners of a small Southern Baptist church, on the outskirts of Globe.They came to represent the history and resilience of their communities.
The original families led to others. These included a young couple, who moved from Tucson, with a four month old daughter, and masters degrees in range management and elementary education, to operate a cattle ranch, homesteaded in 1890, eleven miles from the nearest paved road; “ for our family “.
As I photographed, I saw changes: the tailings, fluid, and drifting; a death by self-inflicted gunshot, because of cancer; and many births.
I saw family ties, sometimes independent of blood, or marriage, like noon shadows: “she’s my daughter, I claim her; they’re my grandchildren, I claim them.“
These pictures mark our presence.
These images reflect the contours and expanse of the Willcox playa, in southeastern Arizona; patterned by wind and water, tire and rancher.
The images were recorded on medium format film, converted to digital negatives, and contact printed using the nineteenth century palladium process.