Craig Varjabedian’s photographs of the American West would be the perfect illustrations to a Cormac McCarthy book. They have a surreal beauty and poetic emptiness that border on the fictional. It’s as if this isn’t the real West, but the West of tall tales and American dreams.
— Claire O’Neille, NPR: The Picture Show
[Craig Varjabedian] relies almost exclusively on a large-format Ebony field view camera, wet darkroom chemicals, and an array of handcrafted Carl Zeiss Protar lenses . . . that have bubbles visibly trapped inside the glass. Besides capturing an extreme degree of detail on his 5"x7" negatives, Varjabedian's equipment--particularly his seemingly imperfect lenses--enable him to translate onto silver-gelatin photographic paper the particular quality of the light in New Mexico.
— Photo District News
2013 Best Art Book Award given to Landscape Dreams, A New Mexico Portrait
— New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards
Landscape Dreams, A New Mexico Portrait presents a selection of Craig Varjabedian’s photographs, made over the nearly three decades that he has lived and worked in New Mexico, range over all the image-making forms—landscape, portrait, and still life—to offer a remarkably complete, varied, and original portrait of what many call the “Land of Enchantment.”
White sand desert, cloud-capped peaks, ancient adobe ruins, groves of autumn cottonwoods—all find their place here. Intimate, personal, and yet iconic, the photographs capture a land and its people in a collection that will be warmly welcomed by those who already love New Mexico but serve also as an inviting introduction for newcomers to its diverse and captivating uniqueness.
Fittingly, the photographs, all beautifully presented in elegant duotone reproductions, celebrate the hundred years of New Mexico’s statehood begun in 1912.
Here, paired with images of Native American sites that go back to earlier millennia, such as the ruins at Bandelier National Monument, are artifacts of the modern world, like the familiar outline of a pumpjack in an oil patch and a lowrider Cadillac outside the wall that protects the Santuario de Chimayo.
Complementing the eloquent photographs are three essays by New Mexico writers whose intimacy with and affection for the land are no less deep than the photographer’s.
Jeanetta Calhoun Mish offers a poet’s special insights into the particular character of Varjabedian’s photographs.
Marin Sardy writes knowledgably of the history and culture of the state.
Hampton Sides, a New York Times best-selling author, offers an appreciation of Craig Varjabedian’s true gifts and urges the reader/viewer to “Take time to savor this careful distillation of the real New Mexico.”
And if you like Landscape Dreams, A New Mexico Portrait and the Land of Enchantment , you will want to check out more of Craig Varjabedian's work in Ghost Ranch - The Faraway Nearby. And we also have a wonderful new book about Georgia O'Keeffe and the No. 1 source for day hikes in the Santa Fe area.