The Sun and Sky and Stars Aligned by Kitty Leaken

Report from the Field, Kitty Leaken, Singular Couture/Photography

The sun and sky and stars aligned for our photo session one recent afternoon at Jemez Red Rocks, New Mexico. We had four coats and two vests by David Naranjo to photograph for his upcoming solo exhibit at Singular Couture in Santa Fe in June.

That afternoon, the winds that had pummeled the state for days, subsided and big sleepy clouds wafted across the southwestern blue sky. We had permission from the tribal governor to make photographs in the dramatic red clay formations of cliffs and mesas at Jemez Pueblo’s special place. Tribal executive assistant Lynn Toledo was tasked with guiding us to the remote location and making sure we respected sacred areas there.

Lynn and I scouted the area while waiting for her daughter and our model, Juanita Christine, to arrive. When her car pulled up, she smiled. “Here is my butterfly.” Cousin Aimee and her daughter Marisol had been enlisted to assist with wardrobe.

We piled into the big pickup with Lynn and Marisol sitting on the tail gate. I popped the truck into low 4WD and navigated a soft sand crossing, a deep side gully and a hill so steep hill that I couldn’t see the road. I just had to trust we’d make it and that Lynn and Marisol would hold on tight in back.

Butterfly, our model, oohed over the magnificent coats. Dave, the artist, uses strong graphic designs to convey his Pueblo iconography and these coats were named after wild, beautiful and sacred things: Agoyo Widi (Scattered Stars), Po Ta (Marked Trail), Tsay Puu Pho (Eagle Tail Feather), Púwáníní Ayän (Moving Butterfly) and Akon Poví Ts’an (New Desert Flower).

The magic hour of late afternoon light was upon us and we thanked the Creator and the spirits for our good fortune that magical day.

We hope you enjoy the photographs!