Still Lives: Carlsbad

Photographs by Richard Baron / Stories by John Mulhouse

I knew the moment we met that we’d be together until either you or I died. Of course, I haven’t forgotten that sometimes it seemed that one of us might do the job for the other. But, no, you left first and in a perfectly natural way, and it was not unexpected and it was not expected at all. Now I am leaving this place, too, yet in a different way, and nobody here will remember you. This is why I buried you beneath smooth concrete. If those who visit this cemetery cannot know you as I have then they will not know you at all. Your name and a few short words can say nothing real of you, your life, or our love. I could cover your entire grave with the outpourings of my heart and it would still mean nothing. Better that you rest here, anonymous and undisturbed, beneath a sheltering tree. Words must wait until we meet again, though I am sure we won’t need them on that day. It will not be long.

From 2011 to 2013, Richard Baron traveled throughout New Mexico photographing grave sites adorned by the arrangement of rocks on the ground, referencing no personal, cultural, or religious detail of its occupant yet still enshrining the life and death of an unnamed human being.

John Mulhouse has spent years seeking out the towns and villages of New Mexico that time has forgotten. Through his affinity for the landscape, history, and spirit of these places he has created stories of people and eras that have passed on yet still have much to tell.

The pairing of Baron’s images and Mulhouse’s words form a haunting portrait of lives we can never know, but may somehow recognize.

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