In the course of traveling far and wide, over a period of more years than I shudder to admit, I have met many talented writers and photographers. Most have been either writers who also take photos or photographers who also write. Among that rare breed who do both at the highest level of accomplishment is Buddy Mays. (See his surrealistic story “The Bench” in our Inaugural issue and his photo essay on Iceland in our Spring issue.)
The most recent case that makes the point is Buddy’s newest book: Cowboys, Indians & Hermits, Some Off The Grid Westerners, 1970-1985, published by, and available, on Amazon.
The book is vintage Buddy Mays, with black and white photos that address both the subject matter and the time frame. The work is further enriched by his inimitable writing, which ranges from probing journalism to literary essay to lyrical poetry. To wit, the following passage:
There is only one road to Shakespeare, New Mexico; a narrow ribbon of blacktop and dusty gravel that follows a line of minimal resistance through the low, nondescript desert hills sixty miles north of the Mexican border. It skirts the deepest of the many rain-washed gullies along the route and fords those that are not quite so eroded. Like backcountry roads everywhere in the American Southwest, this one is pocked with abysmal chuckholes, each awaiting an opportunity to annihilate whichever tire that rolls into it.
What can you expect when you buy a copy:
Buy Buddy Mays newest book on Amazon: Cowboys, Indians & Hermits, Some Off The Grid Westerners,
“During the 1970s and the first half of the 1980s, the American West, especially the “lower” states of Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, and the western part of Texas, was a remarkable place in which to live and work,” Mays writes. “The possibilities for photographers and writers were infinite. Colorful and interesting individuals seemed to be everywhere, many of them willing, even eager, to share their time and stories. From smelly commune hippies to cave-dwelling hermits, from wizened ranch cowboys to Native American Indians . . . they were a vibrant, eccentric, often flamboyant bunch. Blended with the incredible beauty and variation of the landscape itself, this union of people and place resulted in an exceptionally savory—and photogenic—slum-mulligan cultural stew.”
— Tony Tedeschi