Over the course of several years, photographer Chris Es travelled U.S. Route 285 from Santa Fe through south-eastern New Mexico into West Texas, documenting the nearly 500-mile corridor with its vestiges of ather, more prosperous and hopeful era. Southeastern New Mexico, anchored by Roswell, Carlsbad, and the Pecos Valley, is a region of towns and ranchlands that has waxed and waned with waves of ecomic development and decline. The picturesque remains that characterise the nearly abandoned towns and ranches reflect the development that gave rise to the Pecos Valley, beginning with the expansion of the Cattle Kingdom from Texas that brought in ranchers, followed shortly by an influx of farmers who cultivated the land along the Pecos River from Roswell southward. The railroads, roads, and military forts brought subsequent waves of residents seeking opportunity, followed by the discovery of petroleum and sulphur mining. Mechanisation of farming and the urbanisation of America were the forces that collapsed this always poor region. This is an absorbing survey of an area of New Mexico, though affected by ecomic downturns and fluctuating populations, has steadfastly survived. Es presents a varied series of photographs of residences and businesses, among them abandoned buildings. These include gas stations, bars, beauty shops, retail stores, motels, cafes, and those that give clue as to what they once were. Historian Elvis E Fleming contributes an essay about the region's ecomic waves and population shifts along the highway route.
Chris Enos is a renowned photographer and educator. Her work is in public collections throughout the world, including the Denver Art Museum, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Getty Museum. In 1976, she founded the Photographic Resource Center in Boston, Massachusetts. She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.