Craig Varjabedian


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Craig Varjabedian
About the author

CRAIG VARJABEDIAN'S PHOTOGRAPHS of the American West illuminate his profound connection with the region and its people. His finely detailed images shine with an authenticity that reveals the inseparable ties between identity, place, and the act of perceiving. For Varjabedian, the art of photography is a receptive process driven by openness to the revelation each subject offers, rather than the desire to manipulate form or catalog detail. He achieves this intensely personal vision by capturing and suspending on film those decisive moments in which the elements and the ineffable spirit of a moment come together in exceptional and often startling ways. "The remarkable photographs by Craig Varjabedian are not only beautiful but also extremely valuable documents of architecture, culture, and lifestyle,” wrote the late Beaumont Newhall preeminent 20th-century photographic historian and author of History of Photography: 1939 to the present (New York Graphic Society, 1982). From intimate portraits to expansive landscapes, Varjabedian’s images, made primarily in black and white, celebrate the drama and potency inherent in each subject’s relationship to the photographer. “The one thing that never changes is that moment of recognition when I feel the play of light, shadow, and texture resolve itself into something amazing,” Varjabedian wrote in his book Four and Twenty Photographs: Stories From Behind the Lens (University of New Mexico Press, 2007). Through this process he offers viewers a new way of seeing—one that transcends mundane perception and expands our awareness of the potential in every moment. In 1991, Varjabedian co-produced an Emmy award winning film about his photographic work titled En Divina Luz: The Penitente Moradas of New Mexico. Photographs from this project were published in a book by the same name, with an essay by Pulitzer-nominated author Michael Wallis (1994). Recent books of his photographs, published by the University of New Mexico Press, include Four & Twenty Photographs: Stories from Behind the Lens (2007), Ghost Ranch and the Faraway Nearby (2009) which received the prestigious Wrangler Award for Outstanding Photography Book from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum and Landscape Dreams, A New Mexico Portrait (2012) from the University of New Mexico Press.