Craig Pindell

Fine Art Photography 

The Ancient Ones

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 that 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 back pack 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 usually 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 in 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.







Large Ruin and Handprints








Hidden Ruin and Handprints






Elevated Ruin and Handprints








Square Granary 









Unreachable Ruin









Celestial Ceiling











Ruin in a rock wave







Waddle and daub structure









Long structure with flame ceiling









Small ruin and hand prints










Stately structure at the end of the canyon








Subtle Structure








Inside the Kiva







Vortex Ceiling









Ruin in a wall








Double doorway structure










White House Ruin









Structure with white trim












Two story ruin through a ruin doorway





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