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Craig Pindell Photographer

The Ancient Ones

in Art Photography 

      For many years I have enjoyed hunting Anasazi structures and rock art on the Colorado Plateau.  Photographing these sites is technically challenging and artistically satisfying in many ways.  As much as I enjoy the photography, the hiking and finding the site is as much fun than the photography work itself.  The canyons of the Colorado Plateau are some of the most magnificent places on earth.  The mostly undisturbed 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 Anasazi historic site hunting is coming around a bend in the canyon and there in front of you is an unexpected structure or panel;  a treasure that few will ever see.  Usually, at that point I sit for a bit and appreciate the way the site is situated in its part of the geography, the sites individual relationship with the planet. These sites are sacred, and must be visited with reverence and humility. No two sites 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 possible photograph quickly, but sometimes it takes a bit to discover 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 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 their 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 sites 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 site, there is just as much heartbreak in finding a site 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 historic treasures.  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 - Structure With dramatic ceiling






1881 - Newspaper Rock






810067 - Structure 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 Structure






1500 - Two Story Structure and Doorway






1475 - Kiva Opening and Structures






1404 - White Ceiling Structure






1397 - Magnificent Castle Structure






1472 - Inside The Kiva






1270 - The Other Flame Structure Site






1267 - Three Structures and A Flaky Ceiling






1257 - Waddle and Daub.  And Varnish.






1174 - Rock Art Above The River






1485 - Structure with Green Stripe






1158 - Structure at the base of the tall wall






1073 - Nuclear Powered Celestial Ceiling Structure






1029 - White House Site, Canyon de Chelle






1018 - Structure In A Wave






1017 - Small Structure Under Varnish Wall






890 - Square Structure in Square Alcove






1013 - Structure Under Slick Wall






920 - Square Structure with Side Handprints






889 - Glowing Structure






887 - Unreachable Site





878 -  Structure and Bright Handprints





   875 - Structure and Handprints


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