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By David Policansky


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In this third stunning collection, the photographer and author continues his long-term mission to photograph the captivating and evocative historic Catholic churches of the state of New Mexico. The mission became a journey that covered the highways, back roads, and 4WD trails of the state, from north to south, east to west. He has driven these roads, photographing these churches that reflect New Mexico’s complex history and beautiful landscapes, and talked to many people who attend, maintain, and love them. His photographs and descriptions of the churches reflect that complex beauty and provide enough information for the reader to find each of them. They also reflect an urgency: many small, rural, historic churches in New Mexico lack funds for maintenance as rural populations decline, and some of them are at risk of disappearing forever. This volume covers the churches in northeastern New Mexico, churches north of Interstate 40 and east of Santa Fe County and of the western half of Taos County. The churches include famous and imposing ones like San Francisco de Asís in Ranchos de Taos, and more modest ones off the beaten track like the Chapel of San Isidro in Tinaja. They cover not only a geographic span but a time span from the early 1700s to the 20th century. Each church is unique, each has its own story, and each one claims the Land of Enchantment as home.

David Policansky, born in Cape Town, South Africa, came to the United States for his higher education. He received a bachelor’s degree in biology from Stanford University and master’s and PhD degrees in biology from the University of Oregon. He has published more than 35 scientific papers. He also worked at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC, where he contributed to about 60 published reports. He and his wife have long loved New Mexico, where they now live for half of the year, attracted by its spectacular landscapes and diverse and fascinating history and cultures. David began photographing New Mexico’s historic adobe, stone, and brick churches in 2005 and has continued to do so, with increasing urgency as it becomes clearer that these churches do not last forever. This interest in New Mexico’s churches led to his previous books, Historic Catholic Churches Along the Rio Grande in New Mexico and Historic Catholic Churches of Central and Southern New Mexico. He says that he is not a historian or a regular church-goer, but photographing New Mexico churches has deepened his appreciation of New Mexico’s marvelous cultural and natural landscapes, including the fact that the descendants of these New Spanish/Mexican colonists have been here as long and are just as American as the descendants of the Mayflower pilgrims. He adds that when you consider the even longer history here of the Native Americans, you can begin to understand the complexity and profundity of the factors that have led to the presence of these beautiful buildings all over New Mexico.

11 x 8.5
ISBN: 978-1-63293-543-4
156 pp.,$65.00

11 x 8.5
ISBN: 978-1-63293-542-7
156 pp.,$50.00

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