Oblique Views: Archaeology, Photography, and Time
October 25, 2015 through May 7, 2017
For the first time in Oblique Views: Archaeology, Photography, and Time, large prints of Heisey’s stunning images will be paired directly with the Lindberghs’. The exhibition opens October 25, 2015 and runs through May 7, 2017 at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture.
During 2007 and 2008, flying at alarmingly low altitudes and slow speeds, Adriel Heisey leaned out the door of his light plane, and holding his camera with both hands, re-photographed some of the Southwest’s most significant archaeological sites that Charles Lindbergh and his new bride Anne photographed in 1929.
Standing Rock in Canyon del Muerto. This scene is much like that in 1929, except that the stream has changed its course and the field is now planted in a more standard linear layout. The field is smaller than in 1929 because a small slump of debris from the canyon wall to the left extends farther than it used to. Perhaps in response, additional fields have been planted. Photograph by Adriel Heisey, 2008.
Pueblo del Arroyo, Pueblo Bonito, and Chetro Ketl
The minimal shadows cast by cliffs and walls in this photograph show that it, like its matching Lindbergh image of three great houses—Pueblo del Arroyo, Pueblo Bonito, and Chetro Ketl—was taken sometime close to solar noon. Although it’s high summer in a national park, human activity is low, perhaps because of the heat. A few cars are parked or being driven on roads, but the historic buildings, the ongoing archaeological fieldwork, and the ranching infrastructure that made the 1929 photograph so lively are missing. The park service made a conscious decision to remove historic structures, believing that they distracted from the more ancient Chaco period structures and features that the park was established to protect. Park service roads, parking lots, and trails both guide and constrain the visitor experience, and the landscape now appears comparatively barren. Photograph by Adriel Heisey, 2008.
White House is harder to see now because of the additional vegetation. This is the only site in Canyon de Chelly that is accessible without a guide and is by far the most visited ruin in the canyon. A hiking trail leads to the site from a parking lot on the rim above. A pedestrian bridge over the wash can be seen, as can the hiking trail. Tour trucks and jeeps park at the ruin-end of the bridge, although they ford the wash rather than crossing the bridge. Even outside the wash, plant growth is lusher today, in part because the site is not being grazed as intensively as it was in 1929. Photograph by Adriel Heisey, 2008.
White House Ruin
White House Ruin is composed of two parts: a larger room block on the canyon floor that rose to four stories high in the back, and another set of rooms built in a rock shelter immediately above. The upper rooms could have been reached from the fourth-story roof of the lower structure. The bulging, stained walls of the rock face above the rock shelter have made the site a favorite photographic subject. Timothy O’Sullivan photographed the site in the mid-1870s, and it has been well photographed ever since, including by Ansel Adams. Photograph by Charles A. and Anne Morrow Lindbergh, 1929.