Orange fish in the ocean - photo by Hiroko Yoshii - photo by Hiroko Yoshii

The Land of Enchantment

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Humans of every culture seek out natural beauty for repose, recreation and visual gratification. At the same time, we continue to encroach on the areas that provide these things for us and to use up the resources these beautiful areas provide. As we do so, we have also learned to tune out the consequences of our activities, to pretend that the devastation isn't happening. We hardly see even the major manifestations, such as sprawling suburbs and mountains of scraped and scarred earth, let alone the more subtle things – like the ever-present power lines, the roads and the billboards that have come to define our landscape and our lives of consumption.

This photographic essay explores the contrast between developed landscapes and the areas of relatively undeveloped beauty that remain in New Mexico, the Land of Enchantment. The goal of this project is to focus attention on the destructive nature of these changes with the hope of contributing to the continuing, but thus far only marginally successful, efforts to curb them.

Two images from this gallery were included in the exhibition Through the Lens: Creating Santa Fe, curated by Mary Anne Redding and Krista Elrick. The exhibition, commemorating the 400th anniversary of the city of Santa Fe, was on display in the Palace of the Governors at the New Mexico History Museum in Santa Fe in 2009 and have been published in the exhibition catalog by the Museum of New Mexico Press.

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