“Craig Varjabedian’s photographs of the American West would be the perfect illustrations to a Cormac McCarthy book. They have a surreal beauty and poetic emptiness that border on the fictional. It’s as if this isn’t the real West, but the West of tall tales and American dreams. It’s nice to think that there are still photographic mavericks out there, lugging around equipment of yore and carefully, slowly composing each frame. Varjabedian uses a large-format view camera, which heightens the romantic quality of his work.”“The Ghost Ranch (both the place and the series [of photographs), with its evocative name and long history, encapsulates an ideal of the American West that is just as majestic on film as it is in fiction.”
NPR: THE PICTURE SHOW
“Craig Varjabedian’s photographs aren’t merely documentary; they transcend the basic medium of photography to reveal the heart and soul of the Southwest. He has done a magnificent job of portraying the landscape, cultures and people of the state of New Mexico with sensitivity and respect.”
CATHY WRIGHT, DIRECTOR
ALBUQUERQUE MUSEUM OF ART & HISTORY
"In his quest for those convergences of light and mood that define a great image, fine-art photographer Craig Varjabedian has spent decades exploring the secret corners of New Mexico...Tales of how pictures are captured rarely reach their audience — inspiring Varjabedian to write and Twenty Photographs: Stories from Behind the Lens. The book reveals how an artist's work, and his life, continually intertwine."
SANTA FEAN MAGAZINE
“Varjabedian invites the viewer to fall into the landscape as if in a vivid dream.”
THE ALBUQUERQUE JOURNAL
“I've known Craig Varjabedian since the early 1970's when his interest in photography took root in a high school darkroom far from his home now in New Mexico. Dedication to his craft, a keen eye, a sense of adventure, and strong emotional ties to his subjects are all hallmarks of Craig's exceptional vision and gift to us all. As one of his early instructors, a printer/publisher of fine prints for over thirty-five years, and a member of the International Fine Print Dealers Association, I can affirm Craig's place among one of the most authentic artists of our time.”
STEWART & STEWART
BLOOMFIELD HILLS, MICHIGAN
“Craig’s photographs allow you to feel the warmth of the sun-drenched sandstone, the silence of the high plateau and to know that the stars seem closer to you than in any other earthly place.”
JOSEPH FLACK WEILER
JOURNAL OF THE PRINT WORLD
“Craig Varjabedian’s photographs, his art, address the transformational aspects of nature and the abiding spirit he finds embodied in the landscape. He is an observant witness to nature and spirit, and in that gentle process he becomes a vehicle for a vision beyond the tangible. We, the audience, then become witnesses to his images, his shimmering, breathing images of the New Mexico landscape, the openhearted people, the sacred structures, the life of this place.”
By the Grace of Light
“Craig Varjabedian has the eye of the poet.”
“The every focusing lens of the artist himself is crucial to understanding and capturing what Varjabedian refers to as ‘the power of place.’ Working in traditionally diverse communities throughout New Mexico for the greater part of his career, Craig Varjabedian represents many of the essential qualities of humanistic inquiry that are then presented in quality art installations for public dissemination. He has confronted diversity, ambiguity and conflict while at the same time overcoming prejudice and self interest. Through his work, communities are assisted in understanding and valuing those who have been oppressed and sensationalized in secrecy, mystery, and myth. Varjabedian’s photography has provided a philosophical basis for his work both in the field and in the classroom. The ‘divine light’ is captured through his mastery of photography but it also serves as the metaphor of the teacher/practitioner who helps shed light on the many mysteries of life as we know them.”
Craig L. Newbill, Executive Director
New Mexico Humanities Council
“Thanks for the elegant little portfolio [Places of Power]. The images are fine, and the layout and general presentation are very impressive. You should be very proud of the result. Congratulations!"
Phil Davis, Professor Emeritus of Art
University of Michigan
“The remarkable photographs by Craig Varjabedian are not only beautiful but also extremely valuable documents of architecture, culture, and lifestyle of Northern New Mexico. His work is extremely valuable from both artistic and historical viewpoints.”
PREEMINENT 20TH CENTURY PHOTOGRAPHIC HISTORIAN AND AUTHOR
“Craig Varjabedian’s photography captures, with arresting clarity, the ineffable whispers of time and spirit layered deep in New Mexico’s cultural landscape. Through the artful combination of his compassionate eye and technical virtuosity, he evokes the past in the present and the holy in the everyday.”
CATHERINE WHITNEY, CURATOR OF AMERICAN ART
PHILBROOK MUSEUM OF ART, TULSA, OK
“With a vintage lens and an eye on regional America and particularly New Mexico, Varjabedian captures both the spirit of place and the sense of enduring culture in the Southwest. His imagery comments upon landscape, culture, and how the two influence and imprint each other. Sometimes tinged with religiosity, sometimes humorous, his photographs have an intense clarity that befits his subject: the light, landscapes, and unique cultures of New Mexico. Add to this, the overall effect of his work, which might be described as evocative of Farm Security Administration photographs of days gone by, yet tinged with personal touches of optimism and modernity.”
GERALD P. PETERS
GERALD PETERS GALLERY, SANTA FE AND NEW YORK
"Varjabedian’s finely tuned sensibilities and impeccable craftsmanship are everywhere in evidence in photographs that linger like haunting afterimages in the mind’s eye.”
SARAH L. BURT, CHIEF CURATOR
C.M. RUSSELL MUSEUM, GREAT FALLS, MONTANA
“Craig Varjabedian really captures the spirit and way of life that is in present-day New Mexico through representations of the Catholic Church. He also has a really great eye and a spectacular vision for capturing the light and life of New Mexico.”
MEADOWS MUSEUM, SOUTHERN METHODIST UNIVERSITY, DALLAS, TX
“As Varjabedian’s photography reminds us, our surroundings are more than mere backdrop; they are an interactive mirror of our inner selves and an echo of our lives, histories, and collective identity. Varjabedian describes the landscape as his teacher. In the preface of his book, he writes, ‘Here I have learned that light has moods: it comes to life, flourishes, and then dies.’ If the role of a photographer is to make the natural into then supernatural, the earthly into the ethereal, Varjabedian does his job perfectly. In the patterns of shadows, the hard lines of rocks, the texture of grasses, the formations of clouds and the meandering paths of cracks in the earth, there is novelty that is unavoidable.”
SANTA FE REPORTER
“Varjabedian succeeds, admirably, in generating contrasts and tensions between the rigorous lines of the rustic churches and the sensually rounded cloudbanks and tree limbs that surround and surmount them. The settings are luminous. So are the pictures.
Exposing and printing with extreme care, he somehow manages to retain both shadow and highlight detail. This is particularly important when he is pointing up the near-melodramatic contrasts generated by the hard edges of the moradas as they intersect with the soft contours of the southwestern countryside and the cloudbanks that float languidly above them.
What might in other hands have seemed artificial and melodramatic appears natural and right here. When a luminous white cross emerges out of an otherwise murky study of an old building, it is metaphoric rather than exploitive…. Writes Varjabedian, who spent many years documenting and depicting the moradas, ‘I wanted to create pictures that engaged my own feelings and emotions regarding these simple buildings…Each morada represents the human soul’s longing for a direct experience with the divine.’ The resultant images constitute eloquent, if understated, proof of the enduring effects of faith, piety, love and brotherhood.”
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“Varjabedian’s photographs interweave both human and natural manifestations of the sacred.”
WEIGAND GALLERY, COLLEGE OF NOTRE DAME
“The Ansel Adams of Santa Fe. An outstanding photographer whose photographs transcend the visible to capture the mystical moment. Lumen de Lumine"
Richard D. Zakia, Professor Emeritus
Rochester Institute of Technology
“Thank you for the Daybook with all the beautiful photographs. They truly carry the spirit of the season where nature reflects the transquility of peace."