Love in the middle of nowhere, Highway 478,
Mesquite, New Mexico, 2016
What was is going.
What was the recent past is now becoming the debris of now, eroding into the dust or waiting for the two hour demolition wrecker to come and sweep it away, laying waste to the last of the industrial age, smoothing a pad or a field to a bald table upon which will be laid The Grid.
The Relics of Light and Shadow series is an ongoing project since 2010.
From the very beginning of my life in photography I’ve always spent a lot of time “out there,” in the backlands of America. One of my first published pieces (October 1969) was for the Christian Science Monitor (I was their Midwest photographer, based out of Chicago, from 1969 thru 1973). It was a piece I did on the coming of the fallow harvest times of the Midwest, showing images of the solitude that comes with the coming of winter, locking down hearth and home, the time when “it,” the harsh wintertime, is coming and all you can do is get yourself ready for “it.”
Mad as in nutty mad…mad because they were delirious with the defiance of convention while simultaneously becoming the masters of the Establishment (and remain so, truly understanding what motivates consumers -and that became all of us- and then getting them to consume), mad because they were about to be jetting and tail-finning and mini-skirting and drinking and potting and pushing every moral convention ever taught and/or learned out the back door into what became the waste dump of the 60s. They were insane with the possibilities and not burdened by the weight of the previous two generations (The Great One of the Depression and the War). They were mad and intoxicated and wild, like their cars, huge, with unlimited horsepower, design that was plastic and chrome and sweeping, made with materials never heard of before. Theory knew no limits. Everyone felt a little “illegal,” yet, invited to the table. Being ecclectic was safe. Just keep consuming, it’ll all be all right. Yes, they were nutty mad and flew high, never thinking there could be a landing, mad with the waiting for the coming fall, the doubt, the emptiness, the great Genericide, ergo, The End Of The Innocence (Don Henley). They became us. Post Mad. The masters of data, overthink, and, compliance.
Just got a very welcome announcement from a Border Blog viewer. He pointed out that the above image is a representation of a pistachio not a pecan.
We don’t have much of a defense, but really, when this was posted on April 24, your Border Blog photographer, Bruce Berman, wasn’t much Bruce Berman either. That’s what happens when one “does what one has got to do as opposed to doing what you do.”
We at Border Blog are pleased to announce that the real Bruce Berman is back, on the border, three blocks from the bridge, in his decaying ruin, tape -metaphorically- over his mouth, no longer talking about photography but living his life, and making images that, hopefully, will do, as we wrote almost a decade ago, stating our intention to (see the “About” tab above), “…cover the news, opinions and culture of the 2000 mile border of Mexico and the United States, concentrating on the epicenter of El Paso and Juarez. The Border Blog is not meant to be a news source as much as it is meant to be a news ‘feel’.”
Thank you MB and thank you Bruce (but tsk tsk on your caption!).
El Paso –Six blocks to the border. There are diamonds. Well, they ought to be diamonds. He says they cost $250. I believe him. Sunday drive. Family in the Dodge. Stylin’ on Paisano Street by Bowie (Boooie). If you know El Paso you know the references. If you don’t it wouldn’t matter. Chuco street.
One of the riddles of photography for me is that every once in awhile there is an image that must be in color. Most everything I see and shoot is in B/W, but every once in awhile…
This dude is in color.
Sunday in Lincoln School Park. Everyone’s there: the vatos, the old low riders, the young low riders, Las Chicas, los ninos, las familias and me.
Got to get that building open again!
Fuzz cruised through, took a look, cruised out again (ándale).
As it oughta to be.
The parque was alive, tranquillo and sharp. El barrio vive otra vez…best it’s been in years.
As it oughta be…
For a slideshow:
There ain’t much left.
Mostly the pickins’.
This was the Grand Highway, the Spanish Trail, the beginning of the end of the long journey from East to West or vice-versa, the tip of the arrow into the dart board that was Downtown El Paso.
Interstate came and went around, population moved to new turf, businesses followed, but the old Highway 80 lingered, going from Consumer to Warehouse and beyond. A modern day Babitt, Ohio.
From the movie The Border:
Marcy (Valerie Perrine) : (Showing her Border Patrol husband brochures about El Paso, trying to talk him into moving there, at their breakfast table, in Los Angeles) Honey sometimes you gotta dream.
Charlie Smith (Jack Nicholson) : (Pausing, furrowing his now signature brow) I never dreamed no El Paso.
Las Cruces New Mexico on New Year’s Eve 2009.
Turtle, 17, born and raised in this southern New Mexico town.
Defiant and alive.
It was as good as Times Square.
Just keep looking.
They’re a “warm fuzzy,” no matter how you cut it.
I just wanna dance. It’s the holidays.
Time to dance. And stare at the wall (and the Web) and have luxurious long lunches (and personally enriching) with good friends, now, in the rush of my life, long overlooked.
I’m in New Mexico and there’s a lot of land here, still. Lots of space to dance, and write and spin and dream…in New Mexico, lots of space to scream at the sky and to yell, “No mas el mundo, basta!”
Everyone’s wary, in El Paso/Juarez, these days. The border is at war, with itself, with it’s two yin/yang sides, with the Interiors of each of the two sides.
Everyone’s wondering where it’ll end, where they will fall on the have and have not scale, what’ll be left of this little rough Shangri La (not a Shangri La of paradise but a refuge for those who have fallen from paradise. Sort of a suburb of Shangri La).
The West, the American Highway (and the American fascination with it), Funk, ain’t what it used to be.
Fine with me!
Alameda Street is about (what’s this “about,” stuff?) to get stomped. Progress. New Hospital and Medical School down the Street. Progress.
‘ta bien, really. Time to move on. One thing about Urban Renewal and Plans: we have had the best of it and now you can have the rest. The next “blight,” that I move to -older and wiser now- there will be no Forwarding Address.
There I am, tooling through the vast landscape of West Texas, working for an English language newspaper working out of Abu Dubai, Arab Emirates. Don’t ask. I’m not sure I understand the assignment. Something about Bush returning to Texas and illustrating what two brothers, who were doing a road trip, saw (except, according to my editor, they were really bad photographers). What that has to do with West Texas, I can’t figure.
Space. Glorious space. Wonk yer brain but we all need more space. Maybe because we wonk our brains so much. This is from the funklands of southern New Mexico. It looks right across at the slim tip of West Texas that is El Paso. Juarez, Chihuahua is the horizon.
Space. This is the Tender Mercy of No Man’s Land.
Venga Santa….come on!
If ever there was a place (other than certain parts of Africa right now) that need some kind of Devine Intervention, this is it.
Come on Santa! Forget the regalos. Paz, baby. Bring on the Peace.
If there is a Santa, bring on the Peace.
Ciudad Acuna, Mexico
A Mexican border city has begun fining U.S. drivers who cross the border to fill extra drums, tanks or barrels with government-subsidized Mexican fuel.
Editor’s Note: For other images from the Remnant series, see the July 13, 2007 and the May 12, 2008 posts. Use the calendar in the right column.
I’m driving around my city. I’m moving my operation a little to the north of where I am now, north of the border, north of the borderline, north of my reality. I’m already feeling separation depression. So I drive around my turf of 30 years. I don’t have to look anymore, I know the bricks, the cracks, the fault lines. I’ve shot them a million times and re-shot them. I stick the camera out the sunroof and let the car become part of the camera. The car is the camera. and I tour my myth. This is between me and it, not meant for others. All of my work is getting there now, it’s between me and it.
“Gas for less.”
This is not a glitch, it is the changing of a culture.
Usually when a culture changes -sorry Barack- it is the result of a calamity: Depression, war, pandemic, natural disaster. Were it not so, but “change,” is not engineered. Eventually, it is managed.