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Craig Pindell Photographer

The Ancient Ones

ine Art Photography 

      For many years I have enjoyed hunting ruins on the Colorado Plateau.  Photographing the ruins is technically challenging and artistically satisfying in many ways.  As much as I enjoy the photography, the hiking and finding the ruins is probably more fun than the photography work itself.  The canyons of the Colorado Plateau are some of the most magnificent places on earth.  The mostly undistrubed beauty and seclusion are unmatched anywhere.  Although there are more visitors now than there used to be, it is still a great place to unwind and enjoy the solitude.

      Part of the joy of ruin hunting is coming around a bend in the canyon and there in front of you is an unexpected ruin;  treasure that few will ever see.  Usually, at that point I sit for a bit and appreciate the way the ruin is situated in its part of the geography, the ruin's individual relationship with the planet.  No two ruins are situated exactly the same. Different rock formations make for different construction, and therefore different photographs, with different lighting and different visual composition possibilities.  I slip off the backpack and walk around a bit looking for possible camera positions, evaluate lighting, consider filter options, and take time to understand the entire situation.

      Sometimes, I will be able to see the possible photograph quickly, but sometimes it takes a bit to see the photo that "speaks" to me. Occasionally I may see more than one possibility, but usually there is one view that seems to best convey my experience and my emotions at the time.  There are times that I just hang around the ruin site for a while, waiting for the light to be right, or waiting for the inspiration, or just enjoying the moment.  During these times, I sit where the Anazazi sat, I see the view they saw, I imagine what life must have been like during thier times.  I have no doubt it was a challenging life, but when I compare the beauty of where they lived to some of the locations I work, I think I would gladly trade!

       The photographs you see here have been made over the course of many years and are mainly from the Four Corners area.  I will not be more specific than that for a couple of reasons.  First, part of the magic of the ruins lies in finding them.  If I tell the viewer where to look, I have taken away that joy.  Second; as much joy as there is in finding a ruin, there is just as much heartbreak in finding a ruin that has been vandalized or damaged.  The disgust I have for anyone who would destroy these treasures is impossible to put into words.  I will not help the bums find these ruins.  If I can find a way to help them be prosecuted, I will do so. Vandals Suck.

      I hope you enjoy these photographs. Each and every image means a great deal to me.


810062 - Ruin With Cloudy Ceiling






1881 - Newspaper Rock






810067 - Ruin with White Stripe and Leaning Walls






1493 - Skiing Man and White Bird Rock Art Panel






57005 - Double Doorway and Varnish Wall






1517 - No Longer Perfect Kiva






1511 - Small, High, Hidden Ruin






1500 - Two Story Ruin and Doorway






1475 - Kiva Opening and Ruins






1404 - Ceiling Ruin






1397 - Magnificent Ruin






1472 - Inside The Kiva






1270 - The Other Flame Ruin






1267 - Three Ruins and Flaky Ceiling






1257 - Waddle and Daub.  And Varnish.






1174 - Rock Art Above The River






1485 - Ruin with Green Stripe






1158 - Ruin at the base of the tall wall






1073 - Celestial Ceiling Ruin






1029 - White House Ruin






1018 - Ruin In A Wave






1017 - Small Ruin Under Varnish Wall






890 - Square Ruin in Square Alcove






1013 - Ruin Under Slick Wall






920 - Square Ruin with Side Handprints






889 - Glowing Ruin






887 - Unreachable Ruin





878 -  Ruin and Bright Handprints





   875 - Ruin and Handprints


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