Taos Pueblo

Taos, New Mexico – an artist’s retreat

My friend KB and I have been talking about doing a roadtrip to Taos for the longest time. She told me about this place when we first met, which goes back over 20 years! Her parents lived there and she knows the place and it’s people intimately.  My interest was piqued particularly by  the Taos Pueblo Native Americans and their ancient historical home in the village at the foot of the sacred Taos mountains.

It did not disappoint.  The town itself is quaint and really pretty, replete with art galleries and studios, creativity oozing out of every pore.  The history of the founding artists was told to me by Barbara Brenner, the granddaughter of  Oscar E Berninghaus,  one of them.  She regaled us with stories about her grandfather and her uncle, also a noted artist, as well as tales about the town and it’s colourful inhabitants. This over a wonderful lunch and coffee.  Needless to say that the art in her home beggars belief!

Accomodation in Taos
The center of festivities most nights in the town is this gorgeous old Inn

We stayed in the Taos Inn which has been called “one of America’s great inns” by National Geographic Traveler.  Every evening live music is played in the foyer and hotel guests as well as the locals pile into the space and have a good time.  A definite “must do” if you’re ever in the area.  The locals are authentic, uncomplicated and so welcoming.

Every Thursday evening there is live music in the town square, again attended by everyone.  While basking in the late afternoon sunshine and watching the world go by, my eye was caught by a couple of arresting faces in the crowd and my shutter finger started to itch!!  Eventually – bullied by KB – I worked up the courage to ask them whether I could please take their pictures and they agreed.  I think my accent may have helped….

Street portrait
This man has the most arresting green eyes

I’ve come to realise that the Native American face is one of the most noble I’ve encountered and it was a dream to take the photographs.  My quick street photographs led to a longer, more relaxed session with Black Hill Nau-Pune who agreed to sit for me in the village a couple of days later.  What an experience!!!

Street photography portrait
Black Hill was  intimidating to approach with a forbidding countenance, but soon proved to be the most wonderful man.
portrait photography
Black Hill in situ at his inherited family home in the Pueblo, built originally by his grandfather
Portrait photography
The sacred mountain behind him, Black Hill allows me to take his portrait in the Pueblo

The trip had so many highlights but I will only share a couple more.  A rather famous church, San Francisco de Asis Church at Ranchos de Taos, is also a definite must see with it’s distinctive adobe architecture, it’s quite simply gorgeous.

Taos church photography
The famous Adobe church which is part of the Taos history

And finally, we spent a delightful morning exploring the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge and it’s surrounding area before heading back to town for a sumptuous breakfast at the wonderful Bear Claw Bakery & Cafe.

landscape photography
Standing on the bridge looking into the Gorge
street photography
The best breakfast spot, the Bear Claw Bakery & Cafe

A trip well worth waiting for.


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