Still Lives: Taos

Photographs by Richard Baron / Stories by John Mulhouse

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.

When mama got sick we took her to the curandera. We burned sage and the curandera made a poultice of herbs to put on mama’s chest to help with her breathing. But before we left, the old curandera said that her ways were ultimately powerless against the will of God. “Dios decide todo al final,” she whispered to me alone. Strangely, as her liquid eyes met my own, I remember thinking only that her breath seemed to smell somehow sweet, like cedar smoke. She put a bony hand gently on my shoulder as I stepped across the threshold of her cool, darkened house and back into the bright sunshine. It was not long after that that God decided.

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