The Inn and Spa at Loretto is one of my favorite subjects to photograph in Santa Fe. On our most recent visit after Christmas, I was startled and transfixed by the newly installed artwork in front of the hotel. The stunning pieces are the creations of Cochiti Pueblo artist Virgil Ortiz. The large orb that used to sit in front of the hotel has been replaced by Foreseer, a clay bust of Po’pay, leader of the 1680 Pueblo Revolt, and the three Runners of the Revolt stand to the side. Ortiz bases his work on telling the story of the Pueblo Revolt in which the Pueblo Natives, under the leadership of Po’Pay, successfully overwhelmed Spanish forces and re-established control of what is now the Santa Fe/Taos area of New Mexico. The area was reoccupied 12 years later but the events of 1680 are credited with preserving ancient Pueblo cultural traditions from extinction.
I was particularly captivated by the three statues of the Runners, who were dispatched by Po’Pay carrying knotted cords to all of the Pueblos to set off the uprising, with their stark white faces and black eye coverings standing in front of a stone wall with flaming torches. This is one of the rare occasions when I was able to pre-visualize the image I wanted to create of these statues, and I spent quite a while moving around the installation trying to find the right angle to get the photograph I wanted. The snow let up for a few minutes and some light appeared under the low clouds which created the perfect backdrop for this fine art image. Processing was done in Photoshop using the B&W Artisan Pro X panel.
We recently made another trip to Santa Fe, and I returned to capture individual images of the Runners to create these haunting portraits of the runners. On this occasion, the images were captured during a light rain from an afternoon summer shower rather than a snowstorm. Once again the weather created perfect conditions for photographing the statues since the rain clouds softened the summer sun that created harsh highlights on the faces. The portraits were processed in Lightroom and combined into a triptych in Photoshop.