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NM Governor’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts

Each year, the New Mexico Governor’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts celebrates artists and organizations who have made an outstanding contribution to the arts. In 2019, ¡COLORES! received the award along with Roxanne Swentzell, Lee Gruber, Nicholas Otero, Victor Di Suvero and Mark Neikrug.

AIRED: October 10, 2020 | 0:28:42
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
TRANSCRIPT

FUNDING FOR COLORES WAS PROVIDED IN PART BY:

FREDERICK HAMMERSLEY FOUNDATION...

...AND VIEWERS LIKE YOU

THIS TIME, ON COLORES!

EACH YEAR THE NEW MEXICO GOVERNOR'S AWARDS FOR

EXCELLENCE IN THE ARTS CELEBRATES ARTISTS AND

ORGANIZATIONS WHO HAVE MADE AN OUTSTANDING

CONTRIBUTION TO THE ARTS.

IN 2019 COLORES RECEIVED THE AWARD ALONG WITH

ROXANNE SWENTZELL, LEE GRUBER, NICHOLAS OTERO,

VICTOR DI SUVERO AND MARK NEIKRUG.

PAST NEW MEXICO GOVERNORS AWARD RECIPIENT,

PHOTOGRAPHER MICHAEL BERMAN SEEKS SOME

VESTIGE OF A WILD PLACE.

HE FOUND THE UNDERSTATED SIERRA SAN LUIS MOUNTAINS

ALONG THE MEXICO BORDER.

IT'S ALL AHEAD ON COLORES!

IT WAS NEVER A MATTER OF SHOULD I BE AN ARTIST?

SHOULD I STOP DOING THIS?

SHOULD I KEEP GOING?

IT WAS A LANGUAGE THAT I HAD LEARNED AS A CHILD AND

I NEEDED TO SPEAK AND SO I WOULD CONTINUE MAKING

THESE FIGURES AS LONG AS I HAD SOMETHING TO SAY.

THERE ARE SO MANY ARTISTS OUT THERE WHO WHO MAKE

WONDERFULLY BEAUTIFUL THINGS, BUT THERE JUST BEAUTIFUL.

AND YOU KNOW, I NEED MORE THAN BEAUTIFUL.

I NEED SOMETHING WITH LIKE, SUBSTANCE.

I WANT SOMETHING TO GET IT, GET ME.

I WANT TO GO "AHHH, DAMN.

THAT, THAT HURTS.

THAT'S LIKE, OHHH, I'VE BEEN THERE."

THERE HER.

YOU KNOW KINDA WANNA, KEEP IT YA KNOW, KEEP IT SMILE,

SMILE.

AS A SMALL CHILD I HAD A PRETTY SEVERE SPEECH

IMPEDIMENT AND I WASN'T ABLE TO SPEAK FOR A LONG TIME.

AT LEAST NOT SO THAT PEOPLE COULD UNDERSTAND ME.

MY MOTHER WAS A POTTER AND SO SHE WAS MY FIRST INSTRUCTOR.

BECAUSE SHE HANDED ME THAT CLAY AND WHAT I DID WITH

IT WAS TRIED TO TALK TO HER WITH IT BY MAKING

LITTLE CLAY FIGURES THAT SPOKE ABOUT MY LIFE.

AND WITHOUT KNOWING IT I HAD CREATED A UNIVERSAL

LANGUAGE THAT I THINK MOST HUMANS CAN RELATE TO ON A

VERY BASIC LEVEL.

MY ARTWORK IS VERY PERSONAL.

THEY HAVE HELPED ME RELATE TO PEOPLE.

I'M AWARE OF YOU KNOW LIVING IN TWO WORLDS.

A NATIVE AMERICAN WORLD AND A WESTERN UNITED STATES WORLD.

AND THEY'RE VERY DIFFERENT WORLDS.

AND ONE THING GROWING UP AS A CHILD THAT I NOTICED

WAS A DIFFERENCE OF HOW WOMEN ARE SEEN.

WOMEN WERE OFTEN SEEN AS BELOW MEN IN WESTERN WORLD.

WHERE AS IN THE PUEBLO WORLD, IT'S NOT A MATTER

OF HIERARCHY, IT'S A MATTER OF WOMEN ARE VERY

DIFFERENT THAN MEN AND EACH PLAY A VERY IMPORTANT

ROLE WITHIN CREATION.

EACH ARE VITAL FOR THE CONTINUATION OF LIFE.

THERE WAS A LOT OF PUSH FOR A WHILE IN MY ARTWORK

TO STRIP DOWN WESTERN IDEALS OF WHAT IS FEMININE ATTRACTIVENESS.

I WANTED TO GET SOME INFORMATION THAT MIGHT BE

DIFFERENT TO THE OUTSIDE WORLD.

THAT ACKNOWLEDGE THIS LITTLE THINGS WOMEN DO OR

WHAT IS CALLED "LITTLE THINGS," AS VERY IMPORTANT THINGS.

THERE NOT NOTHING.

AND WHATEVER I'M MAKING EVEN THOUGH IT'S NOT MAYBE

SEEN AS STEREOTYPICAL INDIAN ART, I THINK THAT

IT COMES FROM A VERY VERY DEEP PLACE WITHIN A LITTLE GIRL,

A HUMAN BEING, WHO HAPPENS TO BE A NATIVE AMERICAN PERSON.

THE WORLD HAS TO REMEMBER THAT WE'RE HERE TO HELP

EACH OTHER AND THAT'S THE WAY WE'RE GOING TO SURVIVE

AND THAT'S WAY WE'RE GONNA GROW.

SILVER CITY IS A CREATIVE PLACE, PEOPLE ARE WILLING

TO BE SUPPORTIVE AND SHARE IDEAS.

TWENTY-FIVE, THIRTY YEARS AGO THERE WERE LOTS OF

EMPTY BUILDINGS DOWNTOWN AND WE WERE ALREADY

STARTING TO BE KNOWN AS AN ARTIST COMMUNITY BECAUSE

PEOPLE WERE MOVING OUT OF THE MORE EXPENSIVE AREAS,

LIKE SANTA FE AND COMING DOWN HERE

AND THEY COULD BUY PROPERTY.

BUT THERE WAS QUITE A BIT OF A DEPRESSED ECONOMY.

I BELIEVE THAT HAVING A VIABLE, HANDS ON BUSINESS

THAT EMPLOYED LOCALS WOULD REALLY HELP OUR COMMUNITY.

NEITHER MY HUSBAND OR I WERE TRAINED CERAMICISTS.

WE TAUGHT EACH OTHER AND THROUGH THE HELP OF MANY,

WE LEARNED OUR CRAFT.

OUR SKILL SETS ARE LIKE THIS.

SHE'S THE ONE WHO INTERFACES WITH THE WORLD

AND I'M THE ONE IN THE BACK ROOM WHO MAKES IT YOU

KNOW AND THAT'S MY JOY.

I DON'T ANSWER THE PHONE, I ANSWER THE PHONE ONE

TIME AND THEY SAID, "OH YOU'RE NEW THERE."

HAHAHAHA.

CLAY AND MUD ARE AN INTEGRAL PART OF NEW MEXICO.

THAT'S WHERE THE IDEA THAT CLAY FESTIVAL CAME FROM.

IT'S A WAY TO CONNECT THE PEOPLE OF NEW MEXICO.

THROUGH CLAY SHE HAS BROUGHT NATIVE AMERICAN

COMMUNITY FROM UP NORTH DOWN TO PARTICIPATE IN IT

AND SHARE THEIR WONDERFUL ARTWORK.

IT'S LIKE PEOPLE ARE GETTING TO KNOW EACH OTHER

AND GETTING TO KNOW HOW TO WORK TOGETHER, HOW TO

VALUE EACH OTHER, HOW TO VALUE WHAT'S BEING PRODUCED.

THE MIMBRES REGION ARTS COUNCIL'S YOUTH MURAL

PROGRAM PAIRS AT RISK YOUTH WITH ARTISTS TO CREATE MURALS.

THE MURALS ARE YOUTH DRIVEN.

THEY'RE BEHIND THE DESIGN, THE ARTISTS HELP

FACILITATE WHAT THEY WANNA DO.

THE MURAL PROGRAM STARTED AS PAINTING AND THEN WE

MOVED INTO DOING CERAMICS AND WHEN WE DID THAT LEE

AND SYZYGY TILE BECAME AN INTEGRAL PART OF THE

SUPPORT SYSTEM FOR THE MURAL PROGRAM.

LEE HAS OFFERED KILNS, CLAY, GLAZES, EMOTIONAL

SUPPORT FOR THE MURAL PROGRAM, TECHNICAL SUPPORT.

YOU CAN FIND THESE MURALS ALL OVER THE COUNTY,

THERE'S OVER SEVENTY NOW.

LEE IS JUST SO GENTLE AND KIND, AND YET PERSISTENT,

AND STUBBORN AND, AND SHE MAKES IT WORK.

SHE JUST SHE SHE KEEPS AT IT AND KEEPS AT

IT UNTIL THERE'S SUCCESS.

- MY NAME'S NICK OTERO AND I PRACTICE THE TRADITION

OF PAINTING AND CARVING SANTOS THAT COMES FROM

LATE SEVENTEENTH AND EARLY EIGHTEENTH CENTURY ARTFORMS.

THIS TRADITIONAL ARTFORM IS INDIGENOUS TO NEW

MEXICO, YOU WON'T FIND THIS ANYWHERE ELSE.

I REALLY GIVE A LOT OF CREDENCE TO QUALITY

REPRESENTATION AND FIDELITY TO THE EIGHTEENTH

CENTURY PIECES, BUT AT THE SAME TIME I OVER THE LAST TWENTY-TWO

YEARS DEVELOPED MY OWN STYLE THAT'S BECOME COLLECTABLE.

I MAKE MY OWN PAINTS, I GATHER MY OWN MINERALS,

PLANT MATERIALS, AND I MAKE MY PIGMENTS FROM

THOSE NATURAL SUBSTANCES.

NICK OTERO IS VERY INVOLVED IN HIS COMMUNITY.

WHATEVER YOU ASK HIM TO DO, HE'S ALWAYS WILLING TO DO IT.

OVER THE YEARS HE'S PUT TOGETHER WORKSHOPS TO

TEACH THE CRAFT.

HE TRULY CARES DEEPLY ABOUT THESE TRADITIONS

THAT WE ALL ARE A PART OF IN THIS CULTURE THAT WE

CELEBRATE EVERY DAY.

WHEN I WAS SIXTEEN I STARTED IN HIGH SCHOOL.

I DIDN'T KNOW WHAT MY LIFE PATH WAS GONNA BE.

I COME FROM A FAMILY OF CONTRACTORS, AND PLUMBERS,

AND BLUE-COLLAR WORKERS AND SO I DIDN'T WANT THAT

LIFE FOR MYSELF.

I WANTED TO DO SOMETHING THAT WAS GOING TO LEAVE A MARK.

AND I CAUGHT A LOT OF SLACK FOR IT TOO, I MEAN

MY HANDS ARE CLEAN, THEY'RE JUST FULL OF PAINT.

THEY'RE SOFT BECAUSE I PAINT WITH A BRUSH AND I

DON'T USE A PIPE WRENCH YOU KNOW.

IT'S A REPRESENTATION OF WHO I AM.

MY CULTURE AND MY PASSION AND IT, IT'S AMAZING TO

HAVE ALL OF THOSE IN ONE.

THE ARTWORK HAS BEEN LIKE MY SAVING GRACE.

ITS GIVEN PURPOSE TO MY LIFE.

IT'S AN AID IN SELF-DEVELOPMENT BECAUSE

YOU'RE ABLE TO REALLY MEDITATE ON SOME OF THESE

THINGS THAT YOU PAINT.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE SELFLESS?

TO GIVE TO PEOPLE.

THERE'S MESSAGES WHEN YOU'RE CREATING YOUR WORK.

I TRY TO STAY UPBEAT.

I'M ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE THAT LIKES TO MAKE JOKES

OR MAKE PEOPLE HAPPY WHEN THEY'RE DOWN.

BUT I DO HAVE TIMES IN SOLITUDE WHERE I'M REALLY DOWN.

AND SO FOR ME WHEN I'M PAINTING, THAT'S THAT'S MY REFUGE.

ONE OF MY FAVORITE IMAGES TO PAINT IS OUR LADY OF

SORROWS, THE VIRGIN MARY WITH THE DAGGER IN HER

HEART, IN ANGUISH.

BECAUSE THAT'S SO MUCH APART OF LIFE IS IS SUFFERING.

IN DOING MY WORK, I'M ABLE TO BRING THAT JOY TO BALANCE.

NOW MORE THAN EVER THAT'S WHAT I CRAVE ON A DAILY

BASIS IS TO SATISFY THAT URGE TO BE CREATIVE AND TO

PRODUCE SOMETHING THAT BRINGS OTHER PEOPLE JOY.

LIKE TO ME THAT IS THE GREATEST GIFT YOU CAN GIVE

SOMEBODY, IS TO GIVE THEM JOY.

AND AS I GET OLDER I YOU KNOW, I REALIZED HOW

IMPORTANT WHAT I'M DOING, YOU KNOW AND HOW IT

INSPIRES OTHER PEOPLE THAT'S IMPORTANT.

OUR CHALLENGE IS NOT WHAT TO TELL, IT'S WHAT NOT TO.

AND I GO, WHAT ARE WE NOT GONNA TALK ABOUT!

BECAUSE THERE'S SUCH A WEALTH OF THINGS TO TALK ABOUT.

LA VOZ SALE DE LA TIERRA. [THE VOICE COMES OUT OF THE EARTH]

IT'S NOTHING YOU READ IN A BOOK.

IT'S SOMETHING YOU LIVE.

IT'S SOMETHING THAT LIVES IN YOU.

THE ONLY THING WORTH WRITING ABOUT IS THE HUMAN

HEART AND CONFLICT WITH ITSELF.

WHAT COMIC BOOKS ALLOWS US TO DO IS TO EXPLORE THINGS

IN A FICTIONAL REALM THAT POINT THE WAY TOWARDS THIS

BRIGHT INDIGENOUS FUTURE.

COLORES HAS MORPHED THROUGH THE YEARS IN IN A

NUMBER OF DIFFERENT ITERATIONS, SO ITS GONE

FROM KIND OF A MAGAZINE FORMAT TO A DOCUMENTARY

SERIES, AND NOW BACK TO A KIND OF A MAGAZINE FORMAT.

BUT ULTIMATELY AT ITS HEART IT IS ALWAYS BEEN

ABOUT THE ART, CULTURE, AND HISTORY OF NEW MEXICO.

THAT IS TELLING THE BEST STORIES OF NEW MEXICO TO NEW MEXICANS.

WE ARE ONE OF THE TOP ART CAPITAL OF THE WORLD.

WE HAVE AN INCREDIBLY RICH HISTORY.

PARTICULARLY THE HISTORY OF SPANISH ART AND THE

HISTORY OF NATIVE AMERICAN ART AND BRINGING THOSE TWO

THINGS TOGETHER.

I THINK THAT'S WHY WE ARE THE RICH AREA FOR THE ARTS

THAT WE ARE.

WE'VE OFTEN SAID ABOUT COLORES THAT IT'S DEVOTED

TO THE CREATIVE SPIRIT FOUND IN NEW MEXICO.

BUT IT'S MUCH MORE THAN THAT.

BUT I I'M NOT REALLY INTERESTED IN JUST KIND OF

SHOWING YOU SOMETHING, I WANNA ENGAGE YOU WITH

SOMETHING THAT'S GOING TO BE MEANINGFUL.

TALKING TO RENA SWENTZELL ABOUT PUEBLO COSMOLOGY.

OR WHAT IT WAS LIKE FOR HER TO GROW UP AS A LITTLE

GIRL ON THE PUEBLO.

OR HAVING GODFREY REGGIO SHARE HIS INSPIRATIONS FOR

HIS QATSI TRILOGY.

I MEAN THAT'S WHAT I'M EXPOSED TO DAY IN AND DAY OUT.

I I I FEEL VERY, VERY FORTUNATE.

THEY CALL ME LIGHT SKIN CAUSE I WAS BORN FROM A BROKEN MOLD.

I KNOW MY LIGHTS NOT BRIGHT RIGHT NOW, BUT IN

TIME IT WILL SHINE CAUSE IT'S MINE.

I WAS AN UNDISPUTED STAR.

PRIMA DONNA OF THE TRIPLE SOMERSAULT!

THANK YOU VERY MUCH!

A LOT OF PEOPLE YOU KNOW DO RECOGNIZE THAT THERE IS

A DIVERSE CULTURE IN NEW MEXICO.

BUT IT'S SO MUCH MORE DIVERSE THAN WE EVEN REALIZE.

WE JUST WANNA INVESTIGATE IT YOU KNOW, WHO ARE WE?

THE COMBINATION OF STORIES IS LIKE THIS WONDERFUL

FABRIC THAT IS NEW MEXICO.

BEHIND THE CAMERA, IN FRONT OF THE CAMERA, PEOPLE WHO'VE,

HAVE BEEN SUPPORTING NEW MEXICO KNME OVER THE YEARS.

THE SHEER GENEROSITY OF EVERYBODY TO SUPPORT THIS

SERIES AND MAKE IT WHAT IT IS, IS REALLY AMAZING AND

I I REALLY WANT TO CELEBRATE THAT.

WHERE ARE YOU?

SAINT OF THE NEAR MISS, THE CLOSE CALL.

TURNING THE CAR'S WHEEL.

DEFLECTING THE KNIFE POINT SO THAT WE WALK OUT OF THE

HOSPITAL THE NEXT DAY GREETING THE SUN GRATEFULLY.

WHAT ARE YOU?

GUARDIAN ANGEL KACHINA, INVISIBLE SPIRIT AND FRIEND.

I BUILD YOU THIS POEM AT DAWN.

CAREFULLY LISTENING TO THE SQUAWKING OF DAYS, TO THE

SOUND OF WATER FALLING INTO THE INTERMITTENT SILENCE.

WONDERING HOW IT IS THAT SO FEW KNOWS YOU,

ACKNOWLEDGES YOU, PRAISE YOU, SAINT OF THE NEAR

MISS, SAINT OF THE CLOSE CALL.

POETRY I FEEL IS THE SONG OF THE HEART AND POETRY

REMAINS WHEN PROSE DISAPPEARS.

VICTOR CAME UP WITH A FORMAT FOR POETRY, WHICH

IS JUST FOUR, EIGHT PAGE INCREMENTS.

SO EVERY CHAPBOOK IS THIRTY-TWO PAGES.

IT WAS JUST AN INGENIOUS WAY TO PRODUCE POETRY

BOOKS FROM UP AND COMING WRITERS WHOSE NAMES ARE

WELL KNOWN NAMES TODAY THAT DIDN'T USE TO BE.

JOY HARJO, JOAN LOGGHE, ARTHUR SZE, LOU STONE,

CAROLYN FORCHE, ANNE VALLEY-FOX, JUDYTH HILL.

PEOPLE WHO SHOWED THE TALENT AND THE PASSION FOR

A CREATIVE OUTLET IN WRITING.

ONE OF THE CHALLENGES TO POETRY IS AUDIENCE.

AND WE ALL AS POETS KNOW THAT WITHOUT AN AUDIENCE,

WE'RE WE'RE SPEAKING TO THE WIND.

PENNYWHISTLE PRESS WAS A REAL BOON.

WE GET TO SPEAK TO EACH OTHER, AND I THINK HE HAD

THAT AS HIS VISION AND TO THIS DAY HE'S OUT THERE

LOVING POETRY!

THE FIRST TIME I SAW VICTOR THERE WAS A READING

AT AN OLD BOOKSTORE CALLED BURNT HORSES.

AND I SAT THERE WITH MY LITTLE MANUSCRIPT IN MY

HAND AND I THOUGHT IF I WALK TOWARDS HIM,

I THINK HE'LL PUBLISH THIS.

I REMEMBER JUST WALKING ACROSS THAT SPACE HANDING

HIM MY MANUSCRIPT AND THAT WAS MY FIRST BOOK.

IF I HADN'T GOTTEN THAT PUBLICATION, I THINK IT

WOULD OF BEEN MUCH MORE OF A CHALLENGE TO FEEL

VALIDATED BY THE LARGER WORLD.

I'D ALREADY SELF-PUBLISHED A FEW CHAPBOOKS, BUT IT'S DIFFERENT

WHEN SOMEONE ELSE BELIEVES IN YOU AND PUBLISHES YOU.

POETRY CAN BE A SAD SONG OR A TRIUMPHANT ONE.

A LOVING SONG OR ONE THAT SINGS OF THE JOYS OF THE DAY.

POETRY CAN COMFORT, STRENGTHEN, AND MOURN.

BECAUSE SOME OF THE LIFE OR TO EACH FAMILY STORY TO

SHARE WITH STRANGERS AND FRIENDS.

POETRY IS THE SONG OF THE HEART.

MUSIC IS ACTUALLY MORE A LANGUAGE THAN ANY SPOKEN

LANGUAGE ON EARTH BECAUSE ANYBODY CAN UNDERSTAND THE

LANGUAGE OF MUSIC.

MARC NEIKRUG IS REALLY KIND OF UNIQUE IN HIS

ABILITY TO MOVE FROM ONE AREA TO THE OTHER.

I MEAN A PIANIST IS A PIANIST BUT HE'S A PIANIST

AND A CONDUCTOR, AND ALSO A COMPOSER.

IT'S VERY UNUSUAL TO FIND THAT COMBINATION IN ONE PERSON.

ANY EMOTION THAT I FEEL, TO THIS DAY, I SENSE AS MUSIC ALSO.

AS A YOUNG MAN I WAS ANGRY, REALIZING HOW THE

WORLD WORKS AND MY MUSIC AT THAT TIME WAS

INCREDIBLY AGGRESSIVE.

IT WAS THIS ANGER JUST SPEWING OUT.

WHAT'S HAPPENED OVER DECADES OF LIFE AND

EXPERIENCE IS THAT YOU ACCUMULATE A MUCH LARGER

VARIETY OF WAYS THAT YOU EXPERIENCE THE WORLD AND

YOU GROW A BODY OF WORK.

THE MUSIC HAS BECOME MUCH MORE WHAT'S OUTSIDE HERE.

IS MORE SERENE, MORE VAST.

WHEN I WAS ASKED TO BE THE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR OF THE

SANTA FE CHAMBER MUSIC FESTIVAL.

MY MISSION WAS TO PROGRAM IN SUCH A WAY THAT YOU

RESPECT THE INTELLIGENCE, THE INTEGRITY, AND THE

CURIOSITY OF THE AUDIENCE.

BROADEN THEIR HORIZONS, GIVE THEM NEW THINGS, GIVE

THEM OLD THINGS THEY NEVER KNEW WERE THERE.

AND NOW WE HAVE AN AUDIENCE HERE THAT IS AS

SOPHISTICATED, KNOWLEDGEABLE, INTERESTED,

AND ENGAGED AS ANYWHERE ON EARTH.

I WOULD HOPE TO KEEP EVOLVING AND THERE FOR THE

MUSIC BECOMES MORE COMPLETE.

PROVIDE MY GRANDCHILDREN WITH INSIGHT AND GIVE THEM

THE BEST POSSIBILITY TO EVOLVE AS GOOD HUMAN BEINGS.

THAT'S MY FUTURE.

AHH, AND DRINKING ALL THE OLD WINE THAT I'VE BEEN SAVING.

HOW DOES ONE SEE WHAT IS THERE?

>>MICHAEL BERMAN: THE FIRST DAY MY MIND IS LIKE

A JUMPING BEAN ON A HOT PAN.

WHAT I'M GOING TO DO.

WHAT I'M GOING TO SEE.

WHAT I.

WHAT I.

IN A FEW DAYS, I SETTLE DOWN INTO A ROUTINE.

GET UP HOURS BEFORE SUNRISE.

WALK AND PHOTOGRAPH INTO DARK.

IN A WEEK I AM LONELY.

I WISH I HAD SOMEONE TO TALK WITH.

IN TWO WEEKS, I TALK WITH MYSELF.

IN THREE WEEKS, I SEE THINGS DIFFERENTLY.

>>BERMAN: SOMETIMES WE LOOK FOR THINGS THAT ARE

THE REALM OF MAYBE DREAMS AND MAGIC, BUT THAT ARE

BEYOND OUR NORMAL EVERY DAY, AND SIERRA SAN LUIS

IS KIND OF THE CROSSROADS OF BOTH.

IT'S THIS UNDERSTATED LITTLE MOUNTAIN RANGE THAT

HAS SOMEHOW ALWAYS BEEN AT THE CENTER OF THINGS AND

IS WHERE I ENDED UP ON AFTER A LONG JOURNEY OF

TRYING TO FIND SOME VESTIGE OF A WILD PLACE

ALONG THE BORDER.

>>BERMAN: THE BORDER LANDS ARE WHERE THINGS HAPPEN

AND THE REASON FOR THAT IS THEY'RE UNSETTLED AND

UNSETTLED WORKS BOTH WAYS.

I THINK THEY'RE EMOTIONALLY UNSETTLED.

OFTENTIMES WHEN I GO TO THE BORDERLANDS I'M JUST

NOT IN THE RIGHT PLACE AND IT'S LIKE OH, YOU KNOW,

KIND OF FEEL A LITTLE EDGY, KIND OF FEEL IT'S A

LITTLE DANGEROUS, STUFFS HAPPENING HERE.

AND WHERE AM I GOING TO SLEEP?

WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN?

BUT LITERALLY, THEY'RE UNSETTLED, THEY'RE SOME OF

THE LEAST POPULATED LANDSCAPES IN BOTH MEXICO

AND AMERICA AND THAT ACTUALLY IS THE REASON WHY

THE BORDER IS THERE.

IT'S THE HARDEST PLACE TO BE.

YOU KNOW, PART OF IT IS THE RIO GRANDE WHERE IT'S

FORMING THESE CANYONS AND PART OF IT IS THAT IT IS

THESE DESERT LANDS WHERE WATER IS A PREMIUM AND

IT'S THE SPACE THAT'S MUCH HARDER TO NAVIGATE.

THESE ARE THE LANDSCAPES THAT ARE ALL AROUND US BUT

THAT WE OFTEN DON'T SEE.

>>BERMAN: PART OF WHAT I'M WOUND UP IN IS, IS THAT

INITIAL DISCOVERY AND LEARNING.

SO IT MAY BE MORE ABOUT LEARNING TO SEE THAN

SEEING THAT INTERESTS ME.

SOMETHING LIKE THE SIERRA SAN LUIS IS THAT IT'S,

IT'S A TALE THAT'S NOT YET TOLD.

IT'S WHAT IT'LL BE IN THE FUTURE STILL IN FLUX.

THE SIERRA MADRES AND THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS BEGIN AND END THERE.

BOTH THE SONORAN AND CHIHUAHUAN DESERT - ONE

SIDE IS THE SONORAN DESERT, THE OTHER SIDE'S CHIHUAHUA.

ALL THESE THINGS ARE COMING TOGETHER WITHIN THE MOUNTAINS.

>>BERMAN: ONE OF THE THINGS IN MAKING

PHOTOGRAPHS NOW IS, THE RELATIONSHIP IS MUCH MORE

FLUID SO I'M ABLE TO CARRY A SMALLER CAMERA THAT

LITERALLY I JUST STRAP IT RIGHT HERE ON MY CHEST AND

I'M OFTEN JUST MAKING PHOTOGRAPHS AS ONE WOULD,

THIS IS INTERESTING TO LOOK AT.

SOMETIMES I DO APPLY AN EDITORIAL THAT I'VE

LEARNED, LIKE OH, THIS WOULD MAKE A GOOD PHOTOGRAPH.

BUT THERE ARE REASONS YOU MAKE PHOTOGRAPHS AND ONE

IS TO SHARE EXPERIENCES, WITH FRIENDS IS SOMETHING WE DO.

I HAD AN OLD FRIEND FROM HIGH SCHOOL WHO HAS ON

OCCASION HAS COME OUT TO VISIT ME AND I'VE TAKEN

HIM INTO THE WOODS.

I'VE LEFT HIM ALONE IN THE DARK AND SCARED THE WITS

OUT OF HIM SO, I SENT HIM LIKE SIX PHOTOGRAPHS OF

THIS LANDSCAPE THAT I'M WORKING IN AND AT THE END

I SHOWED THIS HEAD OF THIS ANIMAL - IT'S KIND OF

DRIED OUT WITH THESE BEAUTIFUL WHITE LARGE

CANINES AND I TOLD HIM IT WAS A WEREWOLF AND HE

ACTUALLY BELIEVED ME AND I GOT AN EMAIL THAT SAID,

"TELL ME THIS ISN'T TRUE," AND HE WAS TOTALLY FREAKED OUT.

"NO, NO, NO, IT'S JUST A BEAR."

HE WAS JUST LIKE, "MICHAEL'S A CRAZY GUY AND

IF ANYONE'S GOING TO SEE A WEREWOLF AND FIND THEM,

IT'S HIM.

>>BERMAN: SOMETHING THAT I DON'T DO AS MUCH OF

REALLY, IS THAT THING; WHEN YOU STEP BACK AND

LOOK AT THE LANDSCAPE.

YOU, YOU GET PERSPECTIVE.

I OFTEN FORGET TO DO THAT BECAUSE THAT'S NOT HOW YOU

WALK THROUGH A LANDSCAPE.

YOU'RE NOT LOOKING AROUND, "OH WHAT A BEAUTIFUL MOUNTAINS."

YOU'RE LIKE, "I DON'T WANT TO STEP ON...

I DON'T WANT TO STEP ON A CACTUS...

I DON'T WANT TO STEP ON A SNAKE.

SO OFTEN I THINK MY PHOTOGRAPHS ARE INCLINED

TO REFLECT LIKE, LOOKING AT THE GROUND, IS REALLY

THE FIRST AND FOREMOST THING.

BUT THERE IS SOMETHING MORE FORMAL FOR ME ABOUT

STEPPING BACK AND, AND WHAT IS THIS PLACE.

I KNOW WHAT I'M LOOKING FOR IS A HEALTHY ECOSYSTEM.

IT'S THAT SIMPLE.

AND IT'S THE THING I CAN NEVER FIND.

>>BERMAN: IN THE CENTER OF THE SIERRA SAN LUIS IS A

GRASS AND SCRUB OAK KIND OF FOREST AND THEN IT'S

SURROUNDED BY A HORSESHOE OF MOUNTAINS AND IT'S

PROBABLY THE BEST WOLF HABITAT I'VE EVER SEEN.

IN MY EXPERIENCE, YOU KNOW I'VE SEEN THEM THERE AND

THEY'VE TRIED TO BRING THEM BACK AND THEY'RE

RUMORS THAT THEY MAY EXIST BUT AT THE SAME TIME

PEOPLE I'M FRIENDS WITH HAVE SHOT AND KILLED THE

WOLVES SO IT'S A COMPLICATED WORLD OUT

THERE AND YOU HAVE TO LEARN TO BE PART OF THAT.

THE PHOTOGRAPH IS THE TOOL I'M USING TO CONNECT ME TO

THE LANDSCAPE.

>>BERMAN: OFTEN THE THINGS THAT ARE MOST IMPORTANT TO

US DON'T EXIST IN THE STRUCTURE OF CONSCIOUS THOUGHT

WHERE YOU'RE DOING SOMETHING LIKE WHAT LANGUAGE DOES.

WHERE YOU GO FROM ONE IDEA TO ANOTHER IDEA IN A COHERENT WAY.

SO WHAT'S NASCENT WITHIN THE WORK IT'S REALLY, THIS

THING I DON'T UNDERSTAND.

WHEN YOU BEGIN TO BRING WORDS OR IMAGES TO

SOMETHING, A LOT OF TRADITIONS HAVE THAT IDEA,

IS YOU STEAL THE SPIRIT, BUT YET IT'S ONE OF THE

WAYS WE COMMUNICATE AND I'VE CHOSEN TO EMBRACE THIS.

SO, IT IS THAT REALM OF CATCH-22.

IS THAT YOU WANT TO TELL OTHER PEOPLE, YOU KNOW,

LIKE WHAT'S IN THESE PHOTOGRAPHS.

IT'S THE INEFFABLE.

IT'S THE THING, I CAN NEVER SEE IT'S THE THING,

I CAN NEVER SPEAK TO.

I'M TALKING ABOUT THE WAY HUMANS SEE THESE

LANDSCAPES AND THESE YOU KNOW THESE LANDSCAPES ARE

INHABITED BY A BROAD SPECTRUM OF LIFE AND WE'RE

ONLY ONE LITTLE PART OF THAT.

HOW DO YOU SEE WHAT'S THERE?

TO VIEW THIS AND OTHER COLORES PROGRAMS GO TO:

NEW MEXICO PBS DOT ORG AND LOOK FOR COLORES UNDER

WHAT WE DO AND LOCAL PRODUCTIONS.

ALSO, LOOK FOR US ON FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM.

"UNTIL NEXT WEEK, THANK YOU FOR WATCHING."

FUNDING FOR COLORES WAS PROVIDED IN PART BY:

FREDERICK HAMMERSLEY FOUNDATION

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