EXIT WEST A CULTURAL CONFLUENCE
1994 - Present
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    In recent decades, the inherent immigrant nature of North Americans has evinced itself once again in a revived population shift to the American West. In 1994 I became one of those immigrants when I relocated to the convergence of the Great Plains and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in Northern New Mexico. As a cultural chronicler using cameras as explorative companions, my years living in the Mora Valley have been spent observing, as well as being observed.
    My neighbors, many of whom are eleventh-generation descendants of Spanish colonists, some of them still speaking in archaic Andalusian idioms, have been reluctant to embrace the outside world and those of it, which in turn has provided for an insular life tethered by their faith in the church, family, and the land. The clutch of poverty stifled this remote rural domain during our country's great postwar era of prosperity, and a land-based subsistence continues to define life in these mountain villages well into the twenty-first century. Within this, there is a magnitude of cultural wealth here that is not obvious to outsiders. After spending two years away, I returned in 2009 with a new understanding of my place alongside the world I’d photographed, indeed had become part of, and I began to see shifts that are being felt in the valley.
    Rich in land and culture, my neighbors live at a juncture of waning traditions and the inevitable accretions of change. The choices they now make reveal the personal, though universal, tensions that inform this chronicle, summoning an invocation to examine suppositions about tradition, community, and progress.

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