Wednesday, August 21, 2013

How photographs tell a story

In April of 2008 I made this photograph of Alice Gilmore in front of her home on the Navajo Nation near Burnham NM.  Since that time Alice has lost her home (see Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore) and now most of her grazing permit area to the BHP coal strip mine.
This past week I was asked to return to the area to document the destruction and loss of Glaash, sacred Navajo white clay.  On the way I returned to Alice's vacant house.  The mine has encroached  on the place she once called home.  Behind the house loom tailing piles hundreds of feet high.
The unending landscape once extended to the far horizon. Broken now with miles of open pit mining.
Two years ago judgement in Federal Court ordered the Federal Office of Surface Mining to stop the permitting for mining in the area.  OSM defied the judgement.

be strong, be safe, Carlan

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Kickstand Down Santa Fe

Two weeks. 2300 miles. 5000 bugs on my leathers.  Traveling the Blueline Highways.
Endless skies along the High Plains Highway.

Small town family diners.
Stormy nights, but sunny days.
Rainbows leading to a pot of gold.
Small town attractions.
Fast food breakfast.
Memories written to a lost brother and sister at a roadside rest.
Freedom of the open road.
be strong, be safe, Carlan

Monday, August 12, 2013


Along the road near Alliance, NE I saw cars planted in an open field.  Carhenge represents Stonehenge.  Thirty-eight automobiles are placed to assume the same proportions as Stonehenge.
The artist of this unique car sculpture, Jim Reinders, experimented with unusual and interesting artistic creations throughout his life. While living in England, he had the opportunity to study the design and purpose of Stonehenge.
Carhenge was built as a memorial to Reinders' father who once lived on the farm where Carhenge now stands.  Told by the local city council to remove the sculpture, the family stood strong.
Art and the freedom of self expression.  Just a small piece of what I have seen the past two weeks from the seat of my motorcycle.

be strong, be safe, Carlan 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Wounded Knee for Sale: $3.9M
Left Sturgis. Headed south out of Rapid City onto the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation to visit Wounded Knee.
Wounded Knee sits at the top of the rough dirt road.  As I parked by the side of the road I received a friendly wave from several Lakota sitting under a shade house.  Emerson Elk, a Lakota Headsman, extended a welcome hand with a smile.
Emerson shared his family history with me.  He's one of 300 Lakota still living who are direct descendents of those massacred at Wounded Knee. He's heritorary chief from the council of the Seven Sacred Fires. Emerson is gravely concerned. Wounded Knee is for sale for 3.9 million dollars.
During Roosevelt's term, through the use of the Allotment Act, he removed 40 acres surrounding Wounded  Knee from the Treaty with the Lakota. He presented the parcel of land to the presiding Secretary of Indian Affairs as a gift. It has passed through several hands and is now up for public sale.
Emerson explained the meaning and importance of this sacred burial site  to the descendents of the nearly 300 men, women, and children who were killed and buried there.  "This site can be sold to a private party.  It can then become a commercial site.  There is nothing in the law to prevent it."  He grasped my hand in both of his and said, "we need to let people know this is happening.  Can you help us tell the story, the true story of what is happening?"  I looked at him and said "yes I will".

be strong, be safe, Carlan

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Leaving Sturgis

Written on a tool box in Sturgis.

I've been everywhere!!!
By ~ SEA ~ AIR ~ & LAND
I've met the richest ~ the poorest
and the prettyest women on the planet earth
all while on my motorcycle

be strong, be safe, Carlan 

Friday, August 9, 2013

Getting Ink in Sturgis

Judy Parker is a tattoo artist from San Diego, CA. She has been traveling to Sturgis for nineteen years to create tattoos.
Judy is a unique tattoo artist.  She free hands the design with a ball point pen. Checks for approval. Begins making the outline.
The outline requires the most time. "I've had brave men cry, and one even pass out while I was doing the outline.  You feel this part of the tattoo the most!"
Once the outline is finished, it is time for shading and color.  "You can sit back and relax now, the fill is the easy part."
Leeta came from North Dakota because she had heard about Judy.  She just turned 70 and always wanted a tattoo.  In honor of Letta's special occasion, Judy wore her coonskin cap as she performed her legendary art.

"A tattoo is all yours.  It's personal.  You carry it with you forever.  It is the one thing that stays with your body when you die." - Judy Parker

be strong, be safe, Carlan 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Striping in Sturgis - Old School Art

Kenny “Von Dutch” Howard is credited with reviving the pinstriping of cars and motorcycles in the mid-forties. Starting as a motorcycle mechanic, Von Dutch borrowed brushes from his dad (a sign painter and designer in southern Los Angeles) to pinstripe a motorcycle from the shop.
Ken Smith from Ft. Worth, TX studied with Von Dutch to learn the art of striping.  "I hung out with Dutch.  Watched him work. He is still talking to me today in my head as I work.  I can hear him now;  square those corners."
Ken mixes his colors by eye.  Fills his brush. Lays down a line with a steady hand.
Ken's eye, hand, and creative mind work as one.  No tape, no pattern.
Ken finishes the design and lifts his brush.  "Less is always more."
Old school art never looked better.

be strong, be safe, Carlan

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Hells Angels at Sturgis
The Hells Angels were originally started by Scottish-American war immigrants, the Bishop family in California.  The name was suggested by Arvid Olsen, an associate of the founders, who had served in the Flying Tigers' "Hells Angels" squadron in China during World War II.  The name "Hells Angels" was inspired by the typical naming of American squadrons, or other fighting groups. 
Ralph 'Sonny' Barger, founder of the Oakland chapter, in recent years has worked to promote motorcycle safety, co-authoring a book on the subject. The book Let's Ride: Sonny Barger's Guide to Motorcycling was released by HarperCollins on June 8, 2010. 

be strong, be safe, Carlan 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Sturgis Unleashed
Highways are filled with bikers headed to Sturgis.
 Downtown Sturgis.
  Bikers begin gathering for the week.
Airbrush art.

be strong, be safe, Carlan 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Returning the Buffalo to the Black Hills
Various historical records state the last remaining buffalo were killed in the Black Hills in the 1870s.  When Wind Cave National Park was established in 1903 the buffalo were missing.  The eastern elk were extinct and the prairie dogs, which had extended for hundreds of miles, were only a vague memory.
In 1913 fourteen buffalo were shipped from the New York Zoo to the Black Hills where they were reintroduced. For the past 100 years buffalo, prairie grasses, antelope, ferrets, and prairie dogs have been managed by man.
At one time over 125 million buffalo roamed freely over the great plains.  Records show only 15,000 buffalo are considered wild bison in the natural range within North America today.

be strong, be safe, Carlan

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Crazy Horse
In 1947 Chief Standing Bear of the Lakota invited sculptor, Korczak Ziolkowski, to the Black Hills to carve Crazy Horse.  The sculpture was to be a memorial to the spirit of Crazy Horse and to his people.  Korczak started work in 1948. At that time he was 40 and had only $174.
Korczak, a strong believer in free enterprise, felt Crazy Horse should be built by the public and not the taxpayer.  Twice he turned down offers of federal funding.  He also knew the project was larger than any one persons lifetime.  He left detailed plans to be used with his scale models to continue the project.  His family has carried on the work since his death in 1982.
Korczak, orphaned at age one, grew up in foster homes in Boston.  He never had formal training in art, sculpture, or engineering. He had a dream and a promise to the Lakota.

be strong, be safe, Carlan

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Never Forget Your Dreams

In Custer City, SD I met Sue Hopper from Iowa.  At an early age Sue was a single mom with three kids to raise.  In 1982 she was laid off from a factory job.  Sue dreamed of making art.  Painting.  
Sue began painting on motorcycles. Word of her talent spread quickly throughout the Midwest.  Today Sue travels form coast to coast painting at rallies, dealerships and shops.
Sue's love of detail is evident in everything she paints. "Some of my murals have hidden pictures with it. I paint a wide array of subject matter.  I was given a gift and I enjoy sharing it with the world."

"You dream it, I'll paint it."

be strong, be safe, Carlan

Friday, August 2, 2013

Into the Black Hills

Across Nebraska high plains give way to sand hills.
Over a rise in the road.  Scent of pine trees fill the air.  Black Hills lay before me. Land of the Sacred Cave of the Winds.
Wakan Tanka sent the buffalo out of the Sacred Cave onto the hunting grounds for the Lakota. Today the original buffalo still roam through the grasslands; and the wind still blows across the plains, once the sacred lands of the Lakota

be strong, be safe, Carlan