2016 Taos New Mexico meets Heather Lynn Sparrow

Dear Taos,

  It is my 22nd year here.  When I first moved to Taos, with my daughter Saffron and my lover Brendan Curran, from Wisconsin, I was 20, and a recovering Catholic.  In my first year of college, I read Be Here Now, Chop Wood Carry Water, and The Findhorn Garden.  These books changed my life forever and created a longing for me to be near people who also found this lifestyle appealing. 


I never lived anywhere buildings were made of mud. The idea of a home made entirely of our sacred earth, at a cost that required primarily our hard work, was my ticket to mortgage free existence. Our modernday homesteading project was well underway.  I found an apartment in Ranchos De Taos next to the San Francisco de Assisi Mission, a National Historic Landmark, the Spanish Colonial San Francisco de Assisi Mission Church is a well-preserved adobe building in the heart of the community at the center plaza of the Ranchos de Taos Historic District. Because of its imposing form and sculpted body, the church is a favorite subject for artists. Ansel Adams photographed the church for his Taos Pueblo art book and Georgia O’Keeffe painted a series of perspectives of the church. O’Keeffe once described it as “one of the most beautiful buildings left in the United States by the early Spaniards.” In most works, these artists favored the view of the back of the church, with its smoothly sculpted adobe beehive buttresses. The beautiful colonial-era church continues to attract artists and the Ranchos de Taos plaza is home to several galleries.

  The Spanish colonists were well established in New Mexico by the 18th century, a period when Spain was at the height of its imperial power in North America. Around this time, civilian Spanish and Mexican families began to settle permanently in Ranchos de Taos, in northern New Mexico. By the mid-18th century, this Catholic agricultural village founded the San Francisco de Assisi Mission. The Franciscans supervised the construction of the historic church between 1772 and 1816.

Ansel Adams

I was excitedly employed at Teo's coffeshop,  an outdoor coffee cart, owned by Wendy Wysong located behind the North end of the plaza, that opened out into the parking lot of the new post office. It was there I began this incredible 20 year photographic journey...