Thursday, July 23, 2009

Is This the Original Blog?

"Newspaper Rock" - Canyon de Chelly, AZ
Well then.. back from my 1800 mile road trip to the Navajo country of Northeast Arizona, and a bit of time off from the city, work and computers. This time I specifically wanted to photograph some of the wonderful cliff dwellings and rock art that are found all through this area, along with the incredible landscapes in and around the canyons. It'll take me some time to sort and process all the new material, but this one is a relatively straightforward shot of what is essentially an ancient form of blog.
Humans have been living here in Canyon de Chelly (pronounced d'SHAY, a Spanish corruption of the Navajo word "Tsegi" meaning canyon) for 5000 years. The Navajo people now own this land, but they are just the most recent inhabitants and all the various peoples before them are referred to by the generic term "Anasazi", meaning Ancient Ones, who apparently left here around 1300 A.D. and were followed first by the Hopi and then the Navajo.
Primitive rock art is divided into two types: pictographs, which are painted on with natural pigments... and petroglyphs, which are scratched or etched into the rock. Over the ages, various residents have embellished the walls of their home area with the symbolic art depicted here, each group having different techniques and styles to tell their stories. Some are fairly obvious in their meaning (notice the Spanish Conquistador-looking characters etched more lightly in the upper center area-they are a common subject and I have another really fantastic location for that later), some are not. What appear to be bullet holes in the rock are probably the work of some fairly recent vandal. My Navajo guide was explaining some of the symbols to me but I didn't really have time to take notes since I was busy trying to get as much work done as possible at each location while listening.
Some of the best Anasazi cliff dwellings in the Southwest are located here in this canyon, so I hope to have some interesting shots from my time photographing these, as well as more interesting facts and stories about the area which I will get into to accompany new images as I get to them.
My pictures are never pre-visialized or planned. I feel strongly that pictures must come from contact with things at the time and place of taking. At such times, I rely on intuitive, perceptual responses to guide me, using reason only after the final print is made to accept or reject the results of my work.
- Wynn Bullock

19 comments:

Ashley said...

This is a great post and picture. Very interesting information!

earthtoholly.com said...

Hi Mark and welcome back. Wow...what a road trip! I'm really looking forward to seeing all your hard work because I know you're going to have some mind-blowing photos to show! This wall is amazing. I remember while out west taking photos of petroglyphs at one of the national parks, but they were nothing as striking as this. Very nice indeed!

Gaelyn said...

Excellent capture. Could be the original blog. There's something about seeing ancient rock art that just sets me thinking.

betchai said...

that's an original blog that is very hard to follow, but what an inspiration.

it is amazing you were there and be able to capture that amazing work. welcome back, seemed you had a wonderful trip. am looking forward for more of your trip.

Icy BC said...

Beautiful picture of such a historic time. The information is also fascinating..

Mook said...

Welcome back, hope you had an enjoyable trip sir! As always an informative article and looking forward to the new work.

ps I am glad that the Navajo are now back in control and the stewardship off there own land!!

The Retired One said...

I LOVE your header photograph and today's post photo is great too!

Maisy said...

I just found your blog, and love your work. Beautiful!

Poetic Shutterbug said...

Just as with calligraphy, these old stone carvings were the ancient blogs. They fascinate me and have me thinking about what it would have been like as writers and photographers to be living in those times wanting to express our thoughts and ideas. Very cool post.

JaviZ said...

This is soooo great Mark! Thanks for sharing!

warmly,
Javier

Patrick said...

Nice to see you back Mark.
That's amazing to see how these drawing are detailed !

Shinade aka Jackie said...

Hi Mark,
As always I am never disappointed with a visit here.

I have been on a much needed break and it is taking me a long time to get caught up.

I love the picture and I would like to think, yes, the original blog.

Great shot and lots to think about. I hope you are having a great summer!!
Jackie

nothing profound said...

Magnificent! Brings back powerful memories of my Arizona days!

Dr. Lauren said...

Wow, as a student of Archaeology this aspect of history fascinates me the most. It's as though they have drawn a book of the dead, much like the Egyptions did.

storybeader said...

isn't it just amazing to image the people who made this art! Beautifully photographed - will be a great series of images!

Chrissy said...

I haven't been over for a little while and I am glad I popped over this evening. It has been wet and horrible and doesn't seem to end. Whereas your recent photo's are fanatstic eye candy. This one is fascinating and the previous two are full of drama and texture. Thanks for cheering me up :D

Mark Alan Meader said...

Jackie: Long time no hear.. welcome back. Hope you enjoyed your time away and thanks for stopping by again. Be seeing you around I'm sure.

Maisy: thank you very much.. glad you enjoy what you see. Always happy to welcome new readers.

Joanne: I think it was a much slower process in those days and I wonder if they had any concept of how long these things would last and what we would think of them?

Patrick: Thanks.. and yes, they did seem to put a lot of thought and detail into this work.. of course, they had plenty of time!

Dr. Lauren: Good to hear from you.. I knew someone was into archaeology, but forgot who it was. I think you will enjoy some of my upcoming stuff about the cliff dwellings in this area and probably some more rock art, too. Stay tuned:)

Chrissy: thanks for stopping by.. I was reading your blog yesterday and admiring the butterflies. Sorry to hear your weather is so bad.. I guess England lives up to it's reputation:) Actually some rain would be welcome around this part of the world!

Deb.. Thank you as always!

Thanks to everyone else for the comments.. I'm working on processing some new work from this trip, but may take a while, with other work intruding, etc.

Lynda Lehmann said...

What a wonderful place to visit, and with a guide to point out the highlights! I would be torn between having a guide, and the silence and space to just shoot-- but if it's a very remote location, a guide is surely a good thing!

I've read that even before the advent of petroglyphs and pictograms, cave people drew "meanders," which were sort of formless, meandering lines. That was before they developed a more specific symbology.

Can't wait to see more of the USA in the future, as so much of it has escaped me.

Thanks for sharing your inspirational photo-adventure, Mark!

Mark Alan Meader said...

Hi Lynda. Probably "meander" is another name for "doodling", like we all used to do in our notebook margins during class.. nothing ever really changes:)
Going in with a guide is not only practical, but required (see my next post). Hope your house is coming along well and thanks for the visit.