When my wife, Marina Eckler, and I were living in New York earlier this year, both of our computers were stolen from our apartment. The only irreplaceable items, sadly, were the thousands of digital photographs. The only backups we had were the few photos she had posted to her blog. The other night, while we were going through the images, I began to notice an odd portrait of our area that emerged from her lens. A native of Los Angeles who spent her 20s in San Francisco, Marina was never entirely convinced that the Colorado landscape was, in fact, the Colorado landscape. She was, however, fascinated with the bizarre conflict between the suburban/urban 50s-80s cityscape and the natural landscape and the West’s own ideas of itself, which heightened her sense of geographical alienation. I asked her if I could download these photos and put them together into a slideshow. After I did, she suggested Ennio Moriccone’s “Duck You Sucker,” part of the soundtrack from the film of the same title (aka Fistful of Dynamite), one of Sergio Leone’s great Spaghetti Westerns, to flesh out the dislocation between the ideas of place and actual place that the images reflected for her.

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19 Responses to Our (Spaghetti) Western Town

  1. Nancy Wilsted says:

    Great team work! In 1972 when I moved here, I hated it and couldn’t figure out what was going on. Now it’s the home I love and I still have no idea.

  2. Matt M. says:

    Great collection of images! Love the juxtaposition of consumer culture, urban decay and the incredible landscape that surrounds us.

  3. Good captures, nice presentation. The dichotomies – made visible by photography – were explored and published by Robert Adams in the early seventies “The New West: Landscapes Along the Colorado Front Range” — see here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1597110604/

  4. Pam says:

    It looks like you focus on the old, worn out, empty, bleak parts of town and ignore the beautiful vistas, buildings, parks and vibrant areas. Not a balanced view of the area.

  5. Crystal Dojcak says:

    I love it! I have lived here off and on since 1960..I like the “rustic” pics! Much of the new part of the city is Califoricated, sad to say.

  6. Crystal Dojcak says:

    I meant Californitcated… oops

  7. suesun says:

    There are plenty of photographs of “beautiful vistas”, etc… from around our area. Marina’s photos make me love, even more, this place I have chosen to call home. Thanks for this……

  8. andy says:

    Great Photos,

    Loved the Comanche Theater Marquis in Buena Vista. My family and I used to go every summer to see a movie as recently as a couple years ago. I don’t think it is still open.

  9. Scott says:

    Growing up here in the 80′s I used to walk and ride my bike all over the Westside and Manitou. The alleys and old, broken things are the Colorado Springs that I remember. It was all my playground. I agree with suesun, the little, mundane scenes are what make up our daily lives. Old, yes. Worn out, maybe. But bleak? No way. Why not celebrate the little, mundane scenes of everyday life? Great job Marina and Noel!

    p.s. The shack with “stained glass” windows next to the American flag VW bus is at the end of my alley. It makes me smile a little every time I go by.

  10. Marina Eckler says:

    Thanks for the interest in this oddball blog that I keep! I do enjoy the worn out things! I like the way the bright sunlight here bleaches human materials, and all the slight shifts in color that come out of it. Very different from coastal air. Huge fan of the colorful shack mentioned above. Such talent. I could go on but I like to leave the writing to Noel Black. These have become beloved corners of the earth to me!

  11. The knocked-over real estate plastic kiosk things are exactly Colorado Springs to me, and the snow-covered sun chair. I love the line of howling wolf toys. Looking at these I realize that this place is my home even if I moved here from somewhere else. I want to be able to claim some kind of ownership/responsibility for the double rainbows.

  12. Judith Benton says:

    Marina, you are a genius with a camera!

  13. Tim says:

    What a wonderful trek through our town! I, too, loved the howling wolf toys, but the parking sign and the moving stars show an interesting side of our community. Aren’t the skies an important part of our existence here?

  14. rence says:

    Great pics and music too. Love it!

  15. adam degraff says:

    beautiful photos. marina’s eye is both acute and mysterious.

  16. zoosuz says:

    love the clouds, the wind, the pics

  17. joey says:

    i love this slideshow!!

  18. Hiker gal says:

    It warmed my heart to see the bike atop the building down by the railroad tracks, since it was recently taken down. Amazing sky.

    Noel, what was the music that accompanied the slide show? It was brilliant.

  19. Elise says:

    I absolutely loved the music. The photos were wonderful, some amusing, some cynical, some just plain strange. I like the offbeat quirky subject matter. Things we often do not even take the time to really think about as we drive by them…Thanks!

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