“ You’ve got to push yourself harder. You’ve got to start looking for pictures nobody else could take. You’ve got to take the tools you have and probe deeper." – William Albert Allard
"We all have access to some subjects that no one else has access to – look at your friends’ hobbies, the workplaces of friends and family, and any place you have access to to find a vision that comes uniquely from your access."
As the sun was shining in through the window, I woke feeling creative. I had to move out of the way quickly to keep the rays from blinding me and I couldn’t help but think, "Have you ever woken up with an idea for a song or an image to put down on canvas?" For some reason, I woke up with the above quotes "popping up” in my head almost taunting me to pay attention and that is when I decided to really listen to my inner self and take it to heart. As I looked them up in my journal and re-read them, I couldn’t help but wonder, "What did I have access to that was truly unique from what others do? What kind of access could transform what I know and have “seen" that others may not have experienced that I could capture on camera?” Immediately, I began to remember and think about my Grandpa(Abuelo) Edward making Chile Ristras. As a girl, I would sit for hours and just watch in awe as he would weave his magic and in the end, have such a beautiful Chile Ristra! As the sun caught my eye again, it regained my attention. I knew what had to be done, quickly got dressed, grabbed my camera, made a few calls to the kids, and off we went down the dirt road and made a surprise visit to my Abuela's house. I took some time to talk to Grandpa about what I was thinking. I explained how important it was for us to share our customs with those who may not have access to such a magical experience and he was eager and more than willing to help me. As he began to make a new ristra, I grabbed my camera and began photographing him. There we were, just like old times sitting on Grandma's porch with Grandma and Grandpa! This time was even more special to me because I had brought along my eldest daughter, Megan and my nephew, Joseph. Customs and family tradition can not be passed on if you do not share the experiences with those you love. As we sat on that porch, I snapped and snapped photos; hoping to capture the magic that kept my focus as a young girl! All of the wonderful memories of my childhood came flooding back, the smells of the chile as the wind would blow through it, the stories my grandparents shared while they worked... it was surreal! Again, a ray of sunshine caught my eye and as I came back to “real time,” I realized that as I was there “capturing” and reliving such a heart warming memory, we were also creating another, more profound memory without even intending to. There we were on that beautiful, tranquil, New Mexico morning and I realized that Grandpa Edward was now 84 years old, Grandma was 82, I am 44, Megan is 22 and Joseph is 2. We had four generations sitting on that porch! All of us watching intently as Grandpa created what used to transform me as a child as I remembered watching in awe; a ristra out of chile! I couldn’t help but think to myself, "How awesome is it to be here in real time and be able to share this experience with my kids and family?!" Talk about tradition, talk about memories… My mind began to wander again and I thought, “How exactly does somebody capture that kind of magic?!” Instinctively, I kept shooting away until the task was done and the ristra was complete.
The ride home was a long one as I couldn’t help but be humbled by the day’s experience and how the kids also were completely engaged as Grandpa moved his hands this way and that until the ristra was complete. As I sat at the computer and was going through the pictures of the day, I wasn't really confident that I was able to capture the magic enough to do it justice and keep not only the memories alive, but also the tradition. There I sat on the same bed that gave me this idea just this very morning, something that kept nagging at me until I listened and took action! With my laptop at hand, I downloaded the pictures and soon found myself picking out those that caught my eye for one reason or another and I hadn't noticed then, but later came to the realization that they were mostly the pictures that focused mainly on my Grandpa's hands! These were the favorite pictures of the day! I had done it! I was able to capture the “magic."