The Taos Pueblo

I have a hesitancy to visit anyplace where I have to pay to specifically photograph, so I wasn’t sure about visiting the Pueblo in Taos. I wasn’t certain of the authenticity of the place either. It seemed to me that the real living takes place just off the site of the Old Pueblo in the surrounding neighborhoods, as in this first photograph.

A friend happened to write that day saying that when they were in Taos the Pueblo was closed for some reason and they’d really like to see it, would I be photographing it? I remembered passing through Taos years earlier when the Pueblo was closed at that time too. So I decided I’d return the following morning and make a few images.

So I went back on a morning in early May. It was a cold and cloudy morning and therefore for the first hour I was the only one there, save for a few mutts who were hanging around. I was quite pleased to have the place to myself.

I was quite fascinated that Red Willow Creek is still the source of water for the community. Indeed the stream runs right through the middle of the Pueblo. I was able to view the land just around the Pueblo again too.

I did make a quick drive on the dirt roads around the Pueblo and was fascinated by the street signs, as they too tell a story. Names like Winter Fat Dr and One Tree Rd give insight in worldview and values. Feeling as though I might be walking on the edge of my welcome, I kept the trip short and just made a quick photograph of a couple of the road signs.

Around 9am people who run small curio shops inside the Pueblo began to arrive. I really liked this woman Lulu. The owner of these dogs had passed away some months ago and Lulu feeds them every day. She likes to feed them by hand, which I thought was quite beautiful. She scoops out some food with a spoon and feeds it straight to the dogs. She said when you have plastic bowls laying around its messy looking, and she thinks the dogs like eating this way better too. She feeds them this way a few times a day.

Annette, pictured below, and her husband run a small shop where they sell tea and handmade bread. It’s a flat bread, fried, like you would have with Indian Chola Puri. Having the bread with honey and sugar, along with some local tea, was the perfect recipe for a cold mountain morning.

The Spanish influence is seen in the pueblo as the San Geronimo Chapel stands near the entrance. While photos understandably are not allowed inside, I can say that it had a distinct catholic feel as Mary took the most prominent place and her various apparitions, while Jesus was relegated to a less prominent place.

More traditional and Ancient Puebloan beliefs were also seen as I watched a woman who appeared to be making an offering to the sun and as the architecture on the following building attests. The rounded shape of this roof is the making of kiva, a traditional round ceremonial house where the spirits of the ancestors will intermingle with the living.

Later that evening, at last light, I made a photograph of the land on the road leading away from Taos and towards Colorado, my next destination.

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23 thoughts on “The Taos Pueblo

  1. Russ, this is so beautiful! I had no idea this place existed. Thank you for showing it to me, and as always, you photographs are full of life, reality and beauty.

  2. “Feeling as though I might be walking on the edge of my welcome…” I love this line. Gorgeous photos, as always. I especially like the one with the ladder. What a cool experience.

    • Thanks Jessica, I always appreciate your comments on the photos and I was especially pleased to hear kind words on the writing. Thanks! Hope you’re having a fine summer with lots of good adventures!

  3. I love these images, you capture the detail of Peublo so well! They should be in a travel magazine!. Good thing you went back although I’m with you there about having to pay to take ‘photos!’ A bit off putting to say the least!

  4. thanks for thist post! I lived in santa fe for many years but unfortunately never made it out to the Taos pueblo. such beautiful architecture and photography! New mexico is such an amazing place culturally.

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