Author of The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire, etc.
TREMENDOUS FORMS: PAUL V. CHAPLO
ON FINDING COMPOSITION IN THE LANDSCAPE
(APPROX 42 MINUTES)
C.M. Mayo: These stunning images of one of the most sparsely populated and least visited regions of North America are not your typical coffee table book pretty pictures. In Marfa Flights: Aerial Views of Big Bend Country, Paul V. Chaplo, a classically trained visual artist who also happens to be a professional photographer, found and composed out of this swirlingly violent and bone-dry landscape something wondrous and haunting. Photographed from a single-engine airplane at various times of day, the land, and sky, and jewel-like ribbons of water come alive with form, muscle, and color.
Welcome. You're listening to Marfa Mondays podcast number 16 of a projected 24 podcasts, which are apropos of my book-in-progress about Far West Texas. I'm your host, C.M. Mayo. This podcast, which has been posted on the glorious day of January 1, 2015, was actually recorded back in October of 2014 in Austin, Texas. Now, Austin, as those of you wise to Texas geography well know, sits east of the Pecos, definitely not in Far West Texas. But no worries. This podcast is all about Far West Texas. It is an interview recorded at Austin's Texas Book Festival with Paul V. Chaplo about his magnificent book, Marfa Flights: Aerial Views of Big Bend Country, which has been published by Texas A&M University Press.
Now a quick message for those of you listening in for the first time or if you've listened to one or more of the early Marfa Mondays podcasts and skipped ahead to this one. Originally the Marfa Mondays podcasting project was scheduled to finish up in 2013. It was interrupted when, to pack a crazy story into one sentence, I ended up spending 2013 and 2014 writing a completely different book, and that book was what brought me to Austin's Texas Book Festival. Metaphysical Odyssey Into the Mexican Revolution: Francisco I. Madero and His Secret Book, Spiritist Manual has been published by Dancing Chiva. It's available from all major online booksellers, Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com, etcetera, etcetera. Librarians, it's available from Ingram. It's also available in Spanish, Odisea metafísica hacia la Revolución Mexicana from both Dancing Chiva and Literal Publishing. I invite you to visit my website, cmmayo.com, to read more about that book, and my several other books, and more. I've also added a link to the recent column Lonn Taylor wrote about my work and this "Marfa Mondays" podcasting project for the Big Bend Sentinel. Thanks, Lonn Taylor. It is an honor, indeed.
Now to Paul V. Chaplo's Marfa Flights. Here's his official biography. Paul V. Chaplo is a professional photographer specializing in corporate and architectural photography. His creative work has been exhibited in museums around the country, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the National Museum of American Art in Washington, D.C., the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Learn more at his websites, PaulChaplo.blogspot.com and MarfaFlights.com. His book, Marfa Flights: Aerial Views of Big Bend Country, was published on September 19, 2014 to coincide with the opening of an exhibition of the large-format color photographs at the Museum of the Big Bend in Alpine, Texas. That show continues through January 18, 2015. Don't miss it.
Bear with me; one more quick note before we start. About 15, 16 minutes in the interview, Chaplo will mention the Window. Those of you who don't know the Big Bend National Park might be a little mystified by that reference. The Window is a gap or pour-off in the Chisos Mountains for the waters of the Chisos Basin to flow down to the desert. It's very spectacular, the views are jaw-dropping, and it's the endpoint of one of the most popular trails in the park. So that's what he means when he talks about the Window.
C.M. Mayo: So we have this amazing book dedicated in memory of Major Victor J. Chaplo, United States Air Force combat, and test pilot, and recipient of the Air Medal and the Distinguished Flying Cross. Did your dad give you the idea to do the book? Tell us how you came to dedicate it to him and do this book.
Paul V. Chaplo: When I was growing up and being in an Air Force family, I flew with my father quite a bit in civilian aircraft, and he often flew with his Air Force buddies, and given their experience, it was too boring to just go up in the air and fly straight to another point. So you're always doing things, practicing stalls, landing on dirt landing strips between the trees, and even doing things like turning off the engine in mid-air, gliding, and then doing a mid-air restart. So it's always interesting, and I'm thankful that, like my father, I'm immune to motion sickness, which serves me well because when you're photographing from the air... and imagine the sensation of when you're looking through a telescope and you move it a little bit, the movement is exaggerated, and when you're photographing from an aircraft, that same effect happens, and so it has served me well.
C.M. Mayo: Wow, that sounds terrifying! So you're up in the air, and circling all around, and hanging outside... and you don't get motion sickness?
Paul V. Chaplo: No motion sickness. And the collaboration with the pilot is very important, and it is sometimes... only to compare it to working with a pilot who can't do what I ask, how frustrating that is, and what a joy it is to collaborate with someone like Roger Amis who really is a world-class aviator and could do what I asked for and more.
C.M. Mayo: Roger Amis is based in Marfa.
Paul V. Chaplo: He is. He's a retired border patrol pilot and a veteran pilot in both the helicopters and aircraft. We flew in a Cessna 172N, which is high-wing, single-engine aircraft, which he borrowed form a friend and flew into town because...
C.M. Mayo: Just for you for your project?
Paul V. Chaplo: Yes, and it was surprising how difficult it was to find flight resources in Marfa.
C.M. Mayo: Really?
Paul V. Chaplo: Yes.
C.M. Mayo: In other words, just finding someone to take you out, and take you up in the air, and take you out was difficult?
Paul V. Chaplo: Yes, and to find a suitable aircraft.
C.M. Mayo: Is that something you think is a recent phenomenon, or it might have always been that way, or is that a post-9/11 issue?
Paul V. Chaplo: Well, I think that it was a combination of factors, but certainly, once you get into the air, and you fly over the edge of the flats and the plateau, and you watch the river valley drop away below you, there are many areas in the badlands where you realize very quickly that in the case of an engine failure in an emergency landing, there really is no place to land, and I actually thought of titling the book No Place to Land.
C.M. Mayo: I like Marfa Flights better.
Paul V. Chaplo: I do too. [Laughs]
C.M. Mayo: I'm looking at your book here, and I'm turning the pages, and what I'm looking for is the map of your flights. It's right across from the title page, and it shows this map with Marfa in the middle, and the Rio Grande River going down at an angle from northwest to southeast, and at the bottom, we see the Big Bend National Park with the Chisos Mountains. So I'm looking here.
You had three different routes. One went out of Marfa Airport up into the Davis Mountains around McDonald Observatory, Sawtooth, Mt. Livermore.
The second one went to a very remote place. I want to ask you some questions about Capote Falls and then down to the Big Bend National Park, but maybe we could start with that one about Capote Falls. When you go out of Marfa towards Mexico, which would be almost straight west, and you come to Capote Falls, there's a big rim there.
Paul V. Chaplo: It is. The Rim Rock of the Sierra Vieja is very beautiful, and in history, it formed a natural barrier to access to the upper flats from the river valley, and when you see it, you realize it's very much like the ramparts of a fortress. It's very beautiful, and the flight where we crossed the Rim Rock, which was actually the site of the stagecoach road that was the Candelaria-Valentine Stagecoach Road.
C.M. Mayo: So they went along the Rio Grande, and then they would come up, or how was it?
Paul V. Chaplo: They would cross it, I think.
C.M. Mayo: They would cross that big rim?
Paul V. Chaplo: Yeah. There was a place there where they would descend into the valley, and when you see the photograph in the book, you have to think of a stagecoach full of passengers, and cargo on the top, and a team of horses going down that zigzag road.
C.M. Mayo: It's almost unthinkable.
Paul V. Chaplo: What the skill of the drivers must've been.
C.M. Mayo: And poor mules.
Paul V. Chaplo: Oh, right.
C.M. Mayo: But this area is on private property now.
Paul V. Chaplo: It is.
C.M. Mayo: So very few people have actually seen it.
Paul V. Chaplo: Yes, and it's one of my favorite areas. In the book, you can see the Capote Falls which happens to be the highest continually-flowing waterfall in Texas, and thanks to the springs at the base of Capote Peak, which is an amazing ramp-shaped mountain that emerges from the flats above, and that feeds water into the cienega in the basin and provides water for the Brite Ranch, which is very well known for their Highland Hereford cattle.
C.M. Mayo: And then on that same flight that you took out of Marfa around Capote Falls, you then came down south along the Rio Grande and came up to Chinati Peak. And Chinati Peak... you have some pictures of here of flying directly over that, and how few people know what an important volcano that was.
Paul V. Chaplo: Yes, on a list of the world's largest super volcanoes, the Chinati caldera is near the top of the list, and when the Chinati erupted about 32 million years ago, the force of the eruption was greater than Vesuvius and greater than Krakatoa. To think that that happened just southwest of Marfa is mindboggling.
C.M. Mayo: It is, and to see the picture taken directly overhead... and then there's teeny-weeny, eeny, peeny little dots that are buildings.
Paul V. Chaplo: There are. Those dots I included because I feel that it shows the scale of the mountain, and so, perched on the ledge of this snaggle-toothed mountain that perhaps looks like a child's sandcastle, except in this case, it was formed by lava rather than wet sand, are these small, rectangular dots that are a radio repeater station so that law enforcement radio, broadcasts, and communications can make it over the mountain.
C.M. Mayo: Absolutely extraordinary. I'm looking at the pictures, and one of the really interesting things to me about this book... you know, there's a lot of books of pictures of the Big Bend, but this is really different because you come at the landscape with the eye of a classically trained artist, and you're looking at it I think with a very different eye than most photographers would. Can you talk a little bit about that?
Paul V. Chaplo: Well thank you very much. Yeah. When I work, there are a few things. Some of them are difficult to express, and one of those is that I've always felt this connection to the land that is very soulful, and as far as motivation, that's a driving force. Then when I approach the scene, I just intuitively find a balance in the composition that is just right at a certain moment, and working from an aircraft, the view and a perspective change very quickly. In a matter of seconds, it's a completely different image to me, and I think that photographing part of what I strive for is to be open to what to me is an emotional response to the landscape, and then beyond that, to find a balance between capturing the place and then the formal concerns of composition and things like that, but I'm very much a person that photographs, or I should say shoots, for composition. That's important to me.
C.M. Mayo: Which of all the pictures is your favorite?
Paul V. Chaplo: Well, it depends on the day. Today my favorite one is Langford Hot Springs, and in this image, we see the...
C.M. Mayo: Which page is that?
Paul V. Chaplo: And that is figure 50.
C.M. Mayo: Figure 50, okay. Oh my God, they're all so beautiful. Okay, 50.
Paul V. Chaplo: Yes, and figure 50 is one of my favorites, and in this scene, we are making a very sharp turn directly over the confluence of the Rio Grande and Tornillo Creek, and we're looking straight down on the landscape. The intersection of the streams of water and the ridges in the landscape form these very strong, triangular shapes with amazing texture. Along the riparian zone of the river is this verdant green, and then surrounding it is the browns, and tans, and rust colors of the hills and the desert, and then beyond that, directly below us, is Langford Hot Springs. And the history that goes with that...and of course a place where travelers for ages have stopped to soak their weary bones on long treks through the desert. And then another part that to me is whimsical is that the erosion in the hills, which you see especially on the Mexican side...which on the page is just inches away from the river, that the erosion has revealed these stair-like terraces in the side of the hills that to me look as though they were sculpted from a topographic map revealing the contours of the elevation, and I love all those details.
C.M. Mayo: Well it looks almost like an abstract expressionist painting, and you studied that in art school.
Paul V. Chaplo: I did. My background with early roots in photography, which I learned when I was in elementary school from my grandfather, but then traditional art schools, I greatly admire the abstract expressionists and their sense of gesture and strong composition, and underlying these, I still look for that. And I believe that Big Bend is unique in that it offers these tremendous forms that allow me to work in finding that kind of composition in the landscape that's in front of my lens.
C.M. Mayo: One of my favorite places in the Big Bend is the entrance to Santa Elena Canyon, and I actually first saw that in a painting by Mary Baxter, and when I stood in front of it myself, I mean, in front of the actual entrance to the canyon, I came up on the road, I was just stunned at the colors and the drama. And you have here some pictures of that canyon from overhead, the Mesa de Anguilla, and they too look very painterly. The colors are just...they're just these lavenders.... Now, you had a lot of trouble with haze in your pictures, right?
Paul V. Chaplo: We did. One of the challenges of this journey was dealing with the haze which is from atmospheric particulate pollution from coal-burning power plants. So we had to use digital tools to cut through that haze, and in doing that, revealed the rich colors in the landscape which are wonderful.
C.M. Mayo: Where are these coal-burning plants?
Paul V. Chaplo: They're both on the U.S. and the Mexican side. Studies actually have revealed that the majority of that pollution is from the U.S. side. It's interesting that the technology to remediate that pollution exists. Electrostatic precipitators, they make those particles fall from the air so they could be collected at the plant, but there are still many plants in Texas that are grandfathered into the law and are released from the requirement of having to employ that technology.
I wanted to mention that one of the most exciting moments was flying from Santa Elena Village along Sierra Ponce and Mesa de Anguilla to a downstream mouth of Santa Elena Canyon, and then while photographing that, both in a very super wide-angle image that shows the canyon in the setting of the wonderful mesa and how it emerges from that, but also showing things like a magma dike in the foreground, but then a closer shot that shows the canyon from overlooking the scenic overlook and revealing the dramatic walls of the canyons.
C.M. Mayo: For a person who hasn't seen this place, it's a flat entrance, and then all of a sudden, there's this gigantic wall that goes on for miles, and miles, and miles, and in the middle of it is this opening...deep purple, and that's where the Rio Grande cut through the Mesa de Anguilla.
Paul V. Chaplo: Yes.
C.M. Mayo: This gigantic slab. The geology in the Big Bend is incredibly dramatic. Now, coming back to your map, the outing from Marfa heading southeast into the Big Bend National Park went around 9-Point Mesa, down over Panther Junction, around the Chisos Mountain, then along the Rio Grande to Lajitas, and then back up. That was that loop. The Big Bend National Park, there's so much geology in there.
Paul V. Chaplo: There is. Approaching the park in the Chisos Mountains was very memorable, and we flew a big loop all the way around the Chisos Mountains, and I particularly relished the moment when we came around the Window to see the dramatic mountains with Ward Mountain and the Vernon Bailey Peak, and to look through that window directly through it, and it was backlit, and as we traveled south and looked across the Window, captured a very dramatic image with cathedral lighting in which the lighting seems to become part of the form of the landscape, and when I was taking that, I was remembering the Native American legends that say that the oldest spirits in the earth inhabit these mountains. It just seems like a place that is just wonderful and has a certain spirit and mystique that to me is palpable.
C.M. Mayo: I felt that too when I was there, but of course I saw it from the ground, which is dramatic in its way, but this is a completely different way of looking at the landscape, of coming at it from above and from some of these angles as you hang out the side. When you were done with these flights, when you had come back and you'd done them all, did you have a different sense of the place than you had before you took off? How did your view of the landscape change?
Paul V. Chaplo: It did. It changed greatly, and probably the thing that I realized very quickly, that, as you're driving or exploring from the ground, you may see the ridge of the edge of a mesa, and from the ground, it's a great obstruction to you exploring the area. It takes great effort to get over that. When you fly over it, not only do you overcome the obstruction, but the landforms become these beautiful, abstract shapes that are just remarkable.
C.M. Mayo: They are. If we could do an hour interview about each one of these photos... My favorite is the Santa Elena Canyon, and when you mentioned that the Indians said the oldest spirits lived in the Chisos Mountains, I remember reading somewhere that the Indians said you can't go in the Santa Elena Canyon because bad spirits live in there. I was in there, and I didn't feel any bad spirits, but I can understand how it would be frightening to go into a space like that. Suddenly you come from this very bright landscape that's flat to something very dark. Even in the middle of the day, it's a deep purple, as I said, and it's cold! It doesn't get the sun. So we have this extraordinary play of light and shadow. I would think that would be one of the exciting things about this landscape, the power of the sun on these shapes.
Paul V. Chaplo: Yes. The landscape is revealed by light and shadow, and so, as a photographer, not only do I have a strong response to light, but also you very quickly realize that to reveal a shape or a form in the landscape, you also need the shadow, and so these images are interplay of the light, and shadow, and the wonderful landscape which has so much variety in Big Bend Country.
C.M. Mayo: The variety is stunning, and when you mentioned that, I was thinking one of the pictures that really surprised me was the Marfa Yacht Club. You know, people who are listening who aren't able to envision where is Marfa, it's out on a high plain. It's surrounded by mountains. You can see the mountains off in the distance, but like Cathedral Mountain or, up to the northwest, you can see the Davis Mountains, and it's, what, a three-hour drive all the way down to the Big Bend? But Marfa itself is on the area that's fairly flat.
Paul V. Chaplo: Right.
C.M. Mayo: The Marfa plains, and well, I'm looking at a picture of the Marfa Yacht Club.
Paul V. Chaplo: This is one of those whimsical titles, and I was working, and doing some research, and checking with some of my local sources in Marfa, and they had told me isn't that the Marfa Yacht Club? And I still don't know if it was an inside joke, but I loved it, and I included it as a title. And this shows some ranch tanks, some playas. They're dry and surrounding these playas in this flat plain, you see the patterns of the cattle trails and the fence lines, and it becomes a very abstract, textured landscape, and one of the things that I like about is that here were these nameless places that we crossed, you know, on our way, let's say, to the river, that I enjoyed seeing and photographing as much as the major, well-known places.
C.M. Mayo: Was there any shot that really surprised you of all the pictures in the book?
Paul V. Chaplo: The section of river about Santa Elena Canyon, because I thought, oh, Santa Elena Canyon, now, that's a must-do destination! But as we flew further upstream from Entrance Camp and around like Metates Camp, False Sentinel, the great surprise was the landscape there that was just mindboggling, and that became my favorite spot. And that was totally unexpected because I thought, okay, we have approached Santa Elena Canyon, photographed the downstream mouth, and shown the top of Mesa de Anguilla, and then we see the upstream mouth and Entrance Camp, and I thought there, we're done, but I looked around me. The landscape is like a cubist painting of canyons and mountains, and I just love that area.
C.M. Mayo: Which one is that? That was the one we were just looking at, right?
Paul V. Chaplo: Yeah, right through here, and...
C.M. Mayo: This is on page...oh, I see. The number 75.
Paul V. Chaplo: Yeah.
C.M. Mayo: I wasn't looking at that one. I was looking at the ones of the crossing the Terlingua Fall, top of Mesa de Anguilla...
Paul V. Chaplo: In figure 75 and 76, these are two vertical photographs, and each of them contains a winding segment of the Rio Grande, and surrounding the river, there are these sharply cut hills with wonderful shapes that are very strong forms. Some of them are very angular. Many people see different figures when they look at it that their imagination plays with this image. I think it's very rich in that way, and also you see the color in the foreground where you have the natural color of the river and the trees along the river, and then how, with the aerial perspective, that you see it fading into the distance into the blue. So these are a couple that were a big surprise to me that quickly became favorites to me.
C.M. Mayo: The landscape couldn't be more varied. I'm flipping through this... I can't even keep straight how many volcanoes there were out there.
Paul V. Chaplo: When you see the land and the beautiful shapes, and then you might see these wonderful hills of tuft...
C.M. Mayo: I just love these. Devil's Playground from Terlingua, to Alamo, to Cesario Creek.... So the strawberry-colored tuft at the Presidio-Brewster County line. So this is your first flight that went from Marfa down to the Big Bend.
Paul V. Chaplo: Yes.
C.M. Mayo: And then coming back up from Lajitas, we have the shot of the strawberry-colored tuft. It looks yummy.
Paul V. Chaplo: It does. It looks like a parfait of ice cream and strawberry. It was formed by layers of incendiary ash that covered this area, and it was a very thick layer. When it fell, it was fiery and destructive, and now, tens of thousands of years later, it has eroded to reveal the wonderful layers that are very colorful. And running near these ice cream-like hills is Alamo de Cesario Creek, which cuts a very zigzag course through the right-hand side of the image, and in this wide-angle image, there's just great variety. We encountered this while flying from the river inland from Lajitas, and it's extraordinary landscape in this area, and you can see in the upper part of the image the eroded hills that form like a plateau to the upper part, and then the middle section has this white chalk covered ash that has layers of reddish ash that forms very much like an ice cream sundae.
C.M. Mayo: And it's also a huge expanse that I can see how, there's nowhere to land a plane anywhere in there!
Paul V. Chaplo: Yes, and we're flying in a single-engine aircraft, and I remember on the morning of the first flight, which was this flight, watching my pilot, Roger Amis, pack survival gear into the back of the aircraft, and I realized very tangibly the risk involved with what we were about to do.
C.M. Mayo: Indeed. And even if a person survived a crash, to find them out there would be rough. I'm looking at the Alamo de Cesario Creek pictures and the Cesario's Cottonwood. What's also really extraordinary, and I'm speaking also of just what I've seen on my own travels in addition to what are in these pictures, is how you see these distant mountain peaks. The vistas into Mexico of one sierra after the other are just dreamlike.
Paul V. Chaplo: Very much so, and in that regard, one of my favorite areas was around San Vicente, Mexico and also the site of the Presidio San Vicente, and there, showing a green stripe of the river running from right to left. On the right-hand side, you see the Sierra San Vicente, which really looks almost like a tsunami of rock that has been frozen just before it descends down into the plain where the presidio once stood.
C.M. Mayo: And that's right across from the Big Bend.
Paul V. Chaplo: Yes.
C.M. Mayo: Now, this section nine of the Land of Plenty, orbiting Green Valley and Paradise Valley. Where is that?
Paul V. Chaplo: It is where we flew north from Lajitas in this winding path that we followed, and Alamo de Cesario Creek, and bordered by Bandera Mesa is this beautiful valley, and it is ranchland, and it has a beautiful landform that emerges from the valley floor called Needle Peak. This beautiful, sculptural mountain was formed by molten magma that was forced into a crack in the earth's crust of softer material, and when that material was eroded away, it left this beautiful shape that is made of 80 percent feldspar. It's a very hard material, and it stands as a monument in the middle of this wonderful valley that has otherwise quite flat terrain.
C.M. Mayo: And as I'm looking at these pictures of Needle Peak, and Green Valley, and Bandera Mesa about 15 miles south of La Playa, both pictures are on opposite pages. They look to me as if we're looking at the ocean, as if we're looking at the shore of an ocean. There's different colors of blue and greenish-blue... and how they melt into the sky...
Paul V. Chaplo: As I worked on the images and also printed them large for the exhibition at the Museum of the Big Bend, I started enjoying the shapes in the distance of the vistas, and it does often seem that as you move into the distance and you see the landscape, which naturally, in viewing the faraway objects, becomes more blue. You see these peaks emerging, and it often does look like they are emerging from the sea almost like islands.
C.M. Mayo: Wow, and of course out there, they call them sky islands, because they have the remnants of flora and fauna that used to be further down.
Paul V. Chaplo: Yes. Yes, of the ancient sea.
C.M. Mayo: The third trip is Up the Starry Stairway, and this was the flight out of Marfa heading northwest into the Davis Mountains, around the McDonald Observatory, around Sawtooth Mountain, and Mt. Livermore, and then coming back to Marfa. A very different landscape.
Paul V. Chaplo: Very different, and these mountains have, to me, a different character. And I clearly remember that we took off in the darkness of a very cold morning and headed north to the Davis Mountains and watched the sunrise just as we appeared over the mountains near Fort Davis.
C.M. Mayo: Oh, how splendid, and now we're looking at the Davis Mountains vista, 21 miles northwest of Fort Davis looking out. Again, it looks like an ocean or like sand dunes, but of course these are very large mountains.
Paul V. Chaplo: These are very large mountains, and they emerge out of the desert that surrounds them, and there are these wonderful pinnacles that are very dramatic, and they are set into the side of the mountain. The mountain slopes have these wonderful pockets of trees that, because of the microclimate in the Davis Mountains, there are actually areas that have Aspen trees, and so it is a very unique environment in this area.
C.M. Mayo: You've got the telescope domes in there... the highest paved road in Texas 10 miles northwest of Fort Davis...
Paul V. Chaplo: I enjoyed flying over the McDonald Observatory and showing the McDonald Observatory in the setting of the landscape that surrounds it, and in the early morning light, very warm color, reminiscent of what you might see in the autumn, to see the telescope domes on top of the mountain, but also to see the wonderful mountains in the background and surrounding it. And there are also the two images of Sawtooth Mountain, and in the book, they are placed side by side, very much like a diptych from an altarpiece, and when they were viewed side by side as they're presented, you see the very jagged faces of Sawtooth Mountain. And then the shadows, which are very strong, create a very strong diagonal feeling, a very dynamic image, and in both the book and the exhibit at the Museum of the Big Bend, they are presented side by side.
C.M. Mayo: Well, it's such an unusual collection of photographs, and they do have this painterly feeling to them. I was not there when you presented the book, unfortunately, I wish I had been, but I am guessing that even for people who have lived in the area their whole life, these pictures must have been a revelation.
Paul V. Chaplo: Yes. I met many people who lived in the area at the opening for the exhibition, and many of them commented that they have lived there all their life and that they now see it in a new way, and it was one of my hopes in doing this project.
C.M. Mayo: Well, it is a work of extraordinary beauty.
Paul V. Chaplo: Thanks, Catherine.
C.M. Mayo: Well, I thank you very much for this interview.
Paul V. Chaplo: Well, thank you for taking the time to talk to me, and I appreciate your interest in the Marfa Flights project in both the book and the exhibition, and it's an honor to meet you.
C.M. Mayo: Same. Thank you.
Paul V. Chaplo: Thank you.
C.M. Mayo: Thanks for listening. You
can listen in any time to the other Marfa Mondays podcasts from
my webpage, cmmayo.com, and for updates, I invite you to sign
up for my free newsletter, also at cmmayo.com. Marfa Mondays
podcasts include number 15, "Gifts
of the Ancient Ones: Greg Williams on the Rock Art of the Lower
Pecos Canyonlands"; number 11, "Cowboy
Songs by Cowboys," which includes an interview with
Michael Stevens; number 9, "Mary
Baxter, Painting the Big Bend"; number 3, "Mary
Bones on the Lost Art Colony."