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Award-Winning Photographer Craig Varjabedian has White Sands Pictures Acquired by New Mexico State University

Red Sky and Dunes, White Sands National Park, NM Yuccas at Sunrise, White Sands National Park, NM Horses at Sunset, White Sands National Park, NM Picnic tables, White Sands National Park, NM Barcan Dune, Sunset, White Sands National Park, NM
LAS CRUCES, N.M. - PrZen -- Award-winning photographer Craig Varjabedian has spent decades photographing the many moods of the magnificent and ever-changing landscape of New Mexico's White Sands National Park. Varjabedian's work has culminated in Craig's latest exhibition Into the Great White Sands: Photographs by Craig Varjabedian, a 50-photograph display that travelled to select museums in New Mexico and Texas.

New Mexico State University (NMSU) has now acquired the photographs; a selection are currently on display in NMSU's Library. Here, Varjabedian's work will be preserved and continued to be shared with the community. NMSU is the state's oldest public institution of higher education and one of two flagship universities in New Mexico. Having his work acquired by NMSU is important for Varjabedian, "I consider it a tremendous honor that New Mexico State University will archive and preserve this collection of my White Sands photographs where it will be available to scholars and students for study and museums who wish to borrow the prints for exhibition."

Overall, the goal of the exhibition is to not only share the beauty of White Sands, but also to inspire others to discover Varjabedian's work. He said he hopes the photographs he captured in Into the Great White Sands will serve as a foundation for future generations to build upon, and that his work will provide inspiration for new artists and scholars to continue the exploration of the beauty and natural elements of White Sands. "The highest compliment I could ever receive is knowing that I inspired someone to continue the journey," he said.

Varjabedian was committed to ensuring that the images remain in the State of New Mexico:
"The challenge always is when you create art, particularly on the scale of this White Sands exhibition, is you travel it for a while, but eventually it becomes necessary to find it a permanent home. I'm a big believer in archives and keeping creations in the place where they were made. Therefore, being able to house this collection of photographs in New Mexico became important."

NMSU is thrilled that Varjabedian felt strongly about making sure that his images remain in the state of New Mexico, where they were produced. Dennis Daily, Department Head of NMSU Library's Archives and Special Collections, further adds "Craig's photographs are an important contribution to the visual record of this region. They help make NMSU a destination for researchers, authors, and publishers from around the world who are interested in the history and cultural heritage of this unique place. While nearly everyone who has visited White Sands has taken photographs, Craig's eye, enormous talent, and dedication to his long-term goal have produced a collection of images that is truly exceptional."

In the early 2010s, Varjabedian, inspired by his trek to the White Sands, decided to focus his next book on the 275 square-mile gypsum dune landscape. He embarked on regular trips to the park, dedicating weeks at a time photographing and exploring the breathtaking landscape.
"I photographed the Sands in all kinds of weather, different times of the year, different times of the day, different seasons – all of it. I hiked a lot of miles, but it was worth it to share the beauty of White Sands through my photographs."

Varjabedian has long felt a connection with White Sands. "I first went to White Sands in the 1980s," Varjabedian said. "It became this place that I went to rest, restore and clear my mind when work would become too intense. It's really like no other place on earth."

Varjabedian's exhibition also allows other artists to discover his work and he hopes to inspire future generations to capture the beauty and natural elements of White Sands: "The highest compliment I could ever receive is knowing that I inspired someone else to continue the journey."

Varjabedian's Into the Great White Sands photographs can be viewed NMSU's Archives and Special Collections department's Humboldt Casad and Evangeline Smith Mandell Gallery, in the Branson Library.

Craig Varjabedian is an award-winning photographer who explores the back roads of the American West, making pictures of the unique and quintessential. 45 years behind the camera, 14 books, 42 museum exhibitions and hundreds of original fine art photographic prints all comprise a rich and rewarding career. In recognition of the significance and power of his images, Varjabedian has been awarded grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, and the McCune Charitable Foundation. His images share awe-inspiring stories of the land and the people who live on it—one photograph at a time.

For a selection of the artists' images in the exhibition please visit the website link:

Dennis Daily, Department Head, Archives and Special Collections
New Mexico State University Library

Tatiana Favela, Communications Specialist
New Mexico State University

Craig Varjabedian

Source: D.A. Smith | Craig Varjabedian Photography
Filed Under: Books, Entertainment, Arts, Travel

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