Craig Varjabedian

The program, “Into the Great Light: A Conversation with Photographer Craig Varjabedian” will be held on May 5, 6:30 pm.

Join acclaimed photographer Craig Varjabedian for an evening of conversation and spectacular photographs, exploring the motivations and stories behind his stunning images of White Sands National Park, a 275-square-mile gypsum dune field in southern New Mexico and our second newest national park. The award-winning book “Into the Great White Sands: Photographs by Craig Varjabedian” presents one of the world’s uniquely stunning environments. Craig has produced an intimate portrait of an environment that is so enticing it will make you want to drop everything and just go there.

Craig Varjabedian is an award-winning photographer who explores the back roads of the American West, making pictures of the unique and quintessential. He shares awe-inspiring stories of the land and the people who live on it—one photograph at a time.

In recognition of the significance and power of his images, Varjabedian has been awarded grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, the McCune Charitable Foundation, and the New Mexico Humanities Council. His photographs have been exhibited and collected by museums around the country including the William Benton Museum of Art, the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, and the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin. The prints from Varjabedian’s traveling exhibition of Ghost Ranch and the Faraway Nearby was acquired by the Foundation for the Albuquerque Museum of Art.

In 1991 Varjabedian received an Emmy Award for his collaboration with award-winning filmmaker Karl Kernberger on the PBS documentary En Divina Luz: The Penitente Moradas of New Mexico. Photographs from this project were published in a book by the same name, with an essay by award-winning author Michael Wallis (1994). His next book, By the Grace of Light: Images of Faith from Catholic New Mexico (1998), came out of the bonds he developed with the people and communities of the Morada Photographic Survey. Recent books of his photographs, published by the University of New Mexico Press, include Four & Twenty Photographs: Stories from Behind the Lens (2007), Ghost Ranch and the Faraway Nearby (2009), which received the prestigious Wrangler Award for Outstanding Photography Book from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, along with Landscape Dreams: A New Mexico Portrait (2012) and Into the Great White Sands(2018).

“Into the Great White Sands”

Award-winning photographer Craig Varjabedian has spent decades photographing the many moods of the magnificent and ever-changing landscape of New Mexico’s White Sands National Monument. His photographs reveal snow-white dunes of gypsum, striking landforms, storms and stillness, panoramic vistas and breathtaking sunsets, intricate windblown patterns in the sand, ancient animal tracks, exquisite desert plants, and also the people who come to experience this place that is at once spectacular yet subtle. Varjabedian’s evocative color images provide the reader with an almost palpable sense of this extraordinary place. 

These photographs are enriched by several essays written by Jeanetta Calhoun Mish, noted poet and author; Dennis Ditmanson, retired White Sands National Monument superintendent; Jim Eckles, retired Missile Range public affairs officer; and Craig Varjabedian, the photographer who shares his insights and experiences of photographing this inspiring landscape and offers tips on making better pictures of White Sands. Into the Great Whtie Sands won the prestigious New Mexico-Arizona Book Award.

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