“Visions of the Bosque” is a showcase for some of the great amateur and professional photographers in our community who have captured the unique beauty of the Bosque with their work. If you wish to submit your photos for consideration, please email us 5 to 10 sample photographs.
Featured Photographer: Seamus O'Sullivan
There is no shortage of subjects to choose from within the Rio Grande bosque, the river itself, the wildlife, stately cottonwoods and other flora, the activities of people, often with their animals, and vistas of the Sandia Mountains looming to the east, but my intent with these images is to focus on the ordinary with the aim of evoking some of the subjective experiences I seek and those I find, which are sometimes different, in my relationship with the bosque. Yes, a relationship, much like the connections I have created over time with my family and friends and a few other sentient beings but this affiliation is more nuanced, the exchange less overt.
These photographs are from the Rio Grande Valley State Park, that 4,300-acre stretch of riparian corridor between Sandia Pueblo to the north and Isleta Pueblo to the south, which is jointly managed by the City of Albuquerque’s Open Space Division and the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District. More specifically, these images were taken between Candelaria Road and Paseo del Norte Boulevard, one of the most accessible and visited parts of the park.
Yet, the refuge and the kind of company I seek is still there, it is close to my home, it is place where I can engage in unconscious play, traipsing and cycling, usually alone but sometimes with others. I believe many people have a similar relationship with the bosque, which is evidenced by make-shift shelters carved out of the densely braided riverside growth, public sculptures made from dead tree limbs and metal rusted the color of the jetty jacks, and occasional shrines to people or events unknown to me and personalized with mementos that beg for deciphering.
As much as the images are geographically specific, they are bound by time, three years from fall 2011 to the present. That period included one of the most desiccated stretches of the current drought affecting New Mexico’s central Rio Grande valley as well as a relative bounty of precipitation since early July of this year and a whale of downpour in late July of 2013. There were times, before the return of the rains, in which I experienced sections of the bosque as frightening, almost apocalyptic, and saddening. With so much dead and dying because of thirst, pockets of the bosque became inhospitable and barren. Yet some of the individual trees I thought were stone dead, never to return, particularly some large water-hogging tamarisks, brown and gray without a hint of green in spring through the early summer, underwent a resurrection when the skies opened and delivered rain in July. Trails I walked and cycled that were bone dry a year ago are now lush, narrowed by new growth, and I am reminded that relationships change, often not simply as a result of will or effort, but because life at any level refuses to stand still.
- Seamus O'Sullivan