I'd never been to Marfa Texas, but had heard plenty about it. I was lead there by an herbal workshop which will be saved for a separate post. The deal was sealed for me after spontaneously finding and reading the Marfa issue of Collective Quarterly. I'd been aching for a trip, and somehow, my friend Jenn also had a week of flexibility to dedicate to time on the road.
We spent a leisurely two days getting there, stopping to take in the view or to see a national park or two, cutting through Arizona and New Mexico until reaching our destination in Texas. I love to travel, and though I usually equate this word to a variety of locales outside of the US, this trip reminded me of just how beautiful this country is. It's all to easy to forget until the sky opens up, the city falls away, and America is able to let her hair down. I love the city life, but the escapes are an important balance to experience.
Something I adore about living in Los Angeles is the readiness of both the landscape and the people living in it to be part of something artistic. This is a really long winded-way of saying that a pretty photograph is a fairly easy thing to accomplish. People are so used to the click of a shutter, it's become second nature to gently pose if an iphone is pointed our way.
The journey to Marfa guided me through several lessons; the main one being that in order to gain a proper photo of a person or place, you must first get to know them. The energy of Marfa is not one which embraces that shutter click, despite (or likely, because of) its incessant presence. I loved the challenge of really being there, meeting people and then seeing them later at the same bar as me. Then the next day, and the next night at a different bar. The community knows itself, and while it's anything but ungiving, it's also not seeking the constant validation and attention so often found within a city.
I was truly shocked at how much there was to do there. Parties, concerts, book readings, tasting events, workshops, gallery exhibitions...filling a calendar would not be a challenge.
In a way, everyone in Marfa is something of a tourist. Most are people who moved away to escape the grind in exchange for a calmly paced artists life, working multiple jobs, owning their own businesses, and quietly preserving the magic of Marfa.