New Mexico Photography

San Raphael ~ Patron Saint of Travelers and Singles


San Raphael

Patron Saint of Travelers
Acrylic on raw alderwood
Karen Rivera 2005


Hidden Grave with Flowers ~ Nambe, New Mexico

Nambe Cemetery
Nambe Pueblo, New Mexico
Karen Rivera
January 2011

I shoot a lot of cemetaries. For heart-rending, technicolor boisterous displays, you just can’t beat a New Mexican cemetary on Easter, Day of the Dead or Christmas. I’ve made it to my favorite, the Nambe Church cemetary in Nambe, every Boxing Day for most of the last 20 years. I follow that up with New Year’s Day in Acoma. It seems to make the perfect emotional double-header.

I found this small, weathered cross tucked away in a far corner surrounded by tumbleweeds and scruffy dead plants. The new flowers shows that this lonely hidden grave hadn’t been forgotten.


Hunting Crosses on the Road Between Cimarron and Taos

On the Road Between Cimarron and Taos
February 2011
Karen Rivera

The first time I went to one of the pueblos to watch the dancing I was served a small cracked hand-painted bowl of this vegetarian stew. I’ve made it ever since I had my first garden when I was a child. It’s rich, comforting and simple but like most dishes that contain green chili, the whole is tastier than the individual ingredients. Serve with freshly made corn tortillas, bowls of salsa and some cold hand-crafted beer from the brewery at Christ in the Desert.

2 ears of fresh corn, kennels cut from cob
1 large yellow onion, chopped medium
1/2  roasted, peeled and chopped hot green chil
1 TBL chopped garlic
4 c. peeled, seeded and chopped unripe pumpkin or banana squash
2 TBL oil (grapeseed if possible)

In a large kettle, saute onion and pumpkin or squash  until the onion is translucent.

Add corn, chili and garlic. Add enough fresh water to prevent sticking. Cover and simmer for 1/2 hour.


Following My Heart in Winnemucca, NV

Winnemucca Heart
Winnemucca, NV
June 2010
Karen Rivera


San Raphael, Patron Saint of Travelers



San Raphael
Patron Saint of Travelers
Acrylic on raw alderwood
Karen Rivera 2005


Walking the Rosary


Walking the Rosary
Christ in the Desert
Outside of Abiquiu, New Mexico
Evangeline Chavez

The Monastery of Christ in the Desert, Abiquiu, New Mexico, U.S.A., was founded in 1964 by Fr. Aelred Wall with monks of Mount Saviour Monastery. Christ in the Desert is located in  Chama Canyon in northwestern New Mexico outside of the village of Abiquiu. It is a fascinating blend of sustainable systems including passive solar, straw bale buildings and medieval silence.

The long, dusty, potholed thirteen mile drive through the serentity and peace of the Monastery’s dirt road offers a true modern-day pilgrim’s journey through miles of Federal Wilderness.

Information about visiting Christ in the Desert can be found here. It’s a remarkably moving experience to walk in and spend the day, as is the rule, in utter silence.


San Antonio Church, Punta de Agua

Punta de Aqua
Highway 55, Southern New Mexico
Karen Rivera

The small villages along Highway 55 have always held a special place in my hard-scrabble New Mexican heart. Using the few resources available in the barren, harsh acres early settlers recycled the ever-present rocks into homes, walls, and churches.

In Punta de Aqua, the rough-cut stone San Antonio Church stands as a monument to an earlier example of sustainable and green building.

If you’d like to walk through Punta de Aqua at street level, click here to go to Google Maps, then click satellite.


Nuestra Senora de Los Dolores de Manzano

Nuestra Nuestra Senora de Los Dolores de Manzano
Manzano, New Mexico
Karen Rivera


Turquoise Steeple at San Antonio, New Mexico

Turquoise Steeple
San Antonio Church
San Antonio, New Mexico
Karen Rivera


Our Lady of Sorrow, Chilili Land Grant

Chilili Madonna
Chilili, New Mexico
February 2010
Karen Rivera


RC Cola Madonna

RC Cola Madonna
Vigil Store
Chimayo, New Mexico
Karen Rivera


Carlos Sena’s Carved Cross

Carlos Sena’s Carved Cross
Our Lady of Sorrows Cemetary
Bernalillo, New Mexico
kd sebastian 2010

This unusual obelisk style grave stone is beautifully carved by hand from rock brought down from Dixon, New Mexico. Lilies, matching flaming hearts and stylized swirls give a European feel to this stone. Truly the work of a craftsman, it stood out as one of the few stones not vandalized or tagged with gang signed graffiti.


Small Easter Wall Church at Sanctuario

Small Easter Wall Church at Sanctuario
Chimayo, New Mexico
kd sebastian 2007


Andreita Avila’s Cross

Andreita Avila’s Cross
Our Lady of Sorrows Cemetery
Bernalillo, New Mexico
kd sebastian 21010

There’s something so touching about handmade grave markers. Many of the cemeteries in New Mexico have suffered from vandalism and neglect. Families die out, move away or simply abandon the traditional New Mexican ways.

My favorite crosses are what I call the “hard times” crosses: handmade from whatever durable materials could be afforded. Rebar, cement, wood, rocks–everything is fair game and free. Oddly enough, the poorer the community, the better kept the graveyards are.

Andreita Avila’s Cross is on the left side of Our Lady of Sorrows Graveyard in Bernalillo, New Mexico. It’s proximity to the Placitas off-ramp has made it a vandal’s dream so it was heart-warming to find this small pocket size memorial exactly where it was placed  years ago.


Sanctuario ~~ A Traditional View

Sanctuario ~~ A Traditional View
Chimayo, New Mexico
kd sebastian 2007


Sanctuario Gate

Sanctuario Gate
Chimayo, New Mexico
kd sebastian 2007


Chimayo Easter Cross with Pink Lilies

Chimayo Easter Cross with Lilies
Chimayo, New Mexico
kd sebastian 2007


Carlos Medina’s Doors

Carlos Medina’s Doors
Chimayo, New Mexico
sebastian 2005


Izzie’s Easter Cross

Izzie’s Easter Cross
Bernalillo, New Mexico
sebastian 2010


Cornelio’s Cross

Cornelio’s Cross
Northern New Mexico
sebastian 2010


Kateri Tekakwitha, St. Francis Cathedral

Kateri Tekakwitha
Santa Fe, St. Francis Cathedral
sebastian 2010


Dinner for Two

Dinner for Two
acrylic on fir
sebastian 2005

The crosses in the painting on the wall keep the afterlife ever present no matter how festive the dinner.


Rebar Cross

Rebar Cross
Bernalillo, New Mexico
sebastian 2010

All across New Mexico, small town cemetaries are filled with handmade shrines and gravestones. This simple welded cross sits at the top of an unmarked grave tucked into the corner of the Our Lady of Sorrows graveyard in Old Bernalillo.