Friday, September 23, 2016

the bottom of Canyon de Chelly and Katia's body as roadmap of her life

To continue the idea that my world is becoming more and more colored by paranoia, fear and uptightness...reasons I can't make the same type of photos I made decades ago. After the Navaho swap meet in Granada I stopped in the Holbrook area. It is a town I have been shooting in from before 1991 when I brought Arizona Alice to the Wigwam motel and had her do cartwheels in white
short shorts, patterned pantyhose, and blue white hair.
Again I returned to some strange and wonderful Americana off interstate 40 east of Holbrook.

At a funky roadside road shop I met Kelsey and her mother driving from Orlando, Florida to Vegas. 18 year old Kelsey had seen the "feed the ostrich's" sign and remembered having fed them when they stopped and she was a kid.
(The owner of the shop had turned me down taking her photo and she had said "NO! I dont want my butt on the internet!")

Andy Warhol drove with Taylor Meade and Viva across counrty by car to a gallery opening he was having in LA. Supposedly this trip turned him onto super graphics- the billboards with minimal text. Those billboards are still there. here is one of state 180 east of Holbrook, Az and before the entrance to the Petrified Forrest National Park.

I wet past the Dobell free museum and drove near the entrance to the National Park. I met Dobell's sister by marriage who ran a small rock shop in a blue building near the Park entrance. I asked her to write out her story. She wrote it out in pencil.

I turned around and went back to the Dobell ranch. I had met him a few years back and heard from his sister-in-law he had died. This time I went up there (at least ten miles off 180) to grandfather Dobell's house that used to be the original entrance to the Park.

the road leading to the Dobell ranch and Katia

I met Noah, the son of Dobell and bought a black petrified piece which he polished. He was constantly working, and conversing with the occasional customers. Katia was nearby and as I am always looking for models I asked Noah about her and he said they were nolonger a couple. I asked Katia to put on some of hte few clothes I brought. She asked that I wait till the last customers left. They left and I noticed Noah was also gone. 
A full length documentary is being shot by my friends Larn and Nadine. I figured Katia could be the perfect model for out film. I gave her my info and a copy of Brian Smith's lead article for the Tucson Weekly on my life. She gave me the number that rings in the rock shop belonging to Noah.

I made some arrangements to return and film her with Larn and Nadine and called a couple of days later, called the number she had given me. The third time call Noah picked up. Said Katia was gone. He had driven her to town to get rid of her. That there might be arrest warrants on her. That she had done bad stuff at the house. He said he had no idea what we had done when he had driven off to dig holes but he was VERY uptight. (we had done nothing-just quasi Kroll fashion portrait shots). He made a point of saying he had signed no model release. He asked to see the shots I had done of his departed dad and I got off the phone and tried to find them. I have NO system as regards my digital work. 
So much for something being simple and easy.

Noah with rock I bought

Noah about to polish my rock


beauty in a squaw dress


  1. Oh my God. How did I randomly stumble across this?? This is Katia!

  2. Oh my God. How did I randomly stumble across this?? This is Katia!

  3. The problem with that is you never met my father and alot of this "happenstance" story is a lie. Your own photos tell the story. From my aunts house where not a cloud in the sky to about 30 sec drive to the old 180 road. Then instant cloud cover. I have made a lot of mistakes in my life almost none more then my knee jerk jaded treatment of a wonderful woman named Katia. Although there is plenty more to this story I don't really care about anything except my father and my mistakes as a man.