16 x 20 in.
These photo intaglio images are made in the desert country around the Devil’s River, Val Verde county in west Texas, where water is precious and hard to find. Nowadays not many people live there, but in the past Paleoindians made it their home, living in rock shelters or on the flat tops of bluffs. Their shadows still haunt the landscape, making their mythical stories vivid. Bird Woman descended to earth by falling through a hole in the sky. Waterbirds carried her down to the sea and set her on the back of a turtle, which became her home, with Turtle Woman, on Turtle Island. Earth Mother filled the earth with egg stones, watered by springs, that became humans, animals, and plants, which humans have the duty to nurture and maintain.
The landscape ignites the imaginations of modern campers as they contemplate the stars, rock formations shaped by forces of water and spring floods, and thorny desert plants. Mythological stories describe how humans first came to a place. Even the earliest arrivals were preceded by the spirits that formed the rocks and springs, clothed the earth in trees and grasses and invited the animals to live there. Humans made the place their home, found all they needed, and filled the earth with their origin stories. Humans are here, but shadows of the spirits are still here too, always watching. The mythological world is part of being human, these prints bridge past and present, the mystical and concrete. The desert landscape evokes the shadows and stories of the earliest people to live there.
Carol Hayman, photographer and printmaker, lives in Austin, Texas where she is a Professor of Anthropology at Austin Community College. She prints at Slugfest Print Studio, where her photographs become fine art prints or photo etchings, using polymer plates, an intaglio French Tool press, handmade paper, and Charbonnel ink.
© Carol Hayman