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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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High Desert: 1943

High Desert: 1943

Sagebrush and mountains in northern New Mexico, 1943. View full size. 4x5 Kodachrome transparency by John Collier.

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Oh, Fair New Mexico

I was born and raised in New Mexico, and yep, that's pretty much what it looks like. I would guess that if you found Collier's tripod marks and retook this picture, the scene would be pretty much the same today as it was in 1943.

I have a poster consisting of photographs of the Santa Fe Canyon in 1922 and 1982. The big difference is that there are so many more 1982. Wood was the main source of fuel back then, so there was a constant brown cloud over the larger towns, especially during the winter. In addition, most of the roads were not paved, so every passing vehicle kicked dust into the air as well. Fortunately, there weren't a lot of cars back then. Of course, there were horses, mules and oxen, which also kicked up a lot of dust and created their own special pollution.

I doubt that many would trade the sealed, vented and sodded sanitary landfills of today for the loathsome middens of a hundred years ago. Thanks, Dave, for bringing some much-needed perspective.

"looks do not always reveal the truth"

Your opinon is appreciated and accepted ---- mine is, the earth today is not the same as it was in 1943 anymore than it was the same in 1843 or before that ---- today, when I travel between here and say, Milwaukee or beyond, I see "hills" along the highway that were never there before, "hills" of garbage covered with a make-up of sod with tell tale venting pipes from a "throw-away" society ---- when one puts out or "throw" their garbage away, one never throws it away, it is only out their sight....PS: you have a good eye, nice photo, don't forget tho to renew your license plate....

[There is a license plate. Look harder. - Dave]


Awesome, a great photo of a great vista ---- no jet plane air streams to mar the sky ---- it was a time when the earth was good yet....

[I go out there every year. "The earth" of 2007 looks pretty much exactly the same the earth of 1943, except for all the soot in the air back then. - Dave]

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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