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Cowgirl Mural, Las Vegas

  "This impressive book features a selection of 100 stunning photographs of New Mexico by noted photographer Parsons from the past 35 years. Although best known for his black-and-white photography, Parsons has been making color images of the Land of Enchantment since he moved there is 1969. Famously picturesque, New Mexico is arguably the most scenic state in the country. Here Parsons—unsatisfied with popular, sun-drenched images of the state—has captured its 'dark beauty' in this perfectly titled book. His stunning images range from misted mountains to colorful murals, dirt roads, and brilliant sunsets. They are dark, however, only in the sense that they reveal another dimension that is lovely and mysterious. Implicit in each of these images, marked by their depth and richness, is the photographer's love for his home. This book will appeal not only to those who appreciate the American Southwest, especially New Mexico, but to anyone who loves fine-art photography."
—Raymond Bial, Library Journal


"As the title suggests, a darkness tints the beauty in Jack Parsons's book of color photographs of New Mexico. It can be an exciting darkness, such as in the foreground of a view of the distant Pedernal from Abiquiú or in the thrilling stillness of a pecan orchard in the Mesilla Valley. It also is a foreboding darkness. Consider Parsons's photographs of an awe-inspiring cloud formation over White Sands National Monument or a storm over the Sangres in Taos or an eerie turquoise fog enshrouding Villanueva. Parsons has also found a starkness of light in images of religious devotion...The photos Parsons chose for the book are from more than three decades of picture taking. This is a book to be cherished."
—David Steinberg, Books Editor, Albuquerque Journal


White Sands National Monument




"Santa Fe artists are fond of pointing out that the sky in New Mexico is the landscape...In his latest coffee table collection, photographer Jack Parsons's land- and sky-scapes show a beauty usually only understood by those who have lived there for generations; photographs of towns, people, trucks, and horses blend the artistic and anthropological. The result is a magical mosaic of the Land of Enchantment.
       "Whereas Parsons's previous photography collections focused on relatively narrowly focused subjects, Dark Beauty swoops from the majestic to the personal and then back again. Most photographs are placed off-center on the page, surrounded by uninterrupted broad margins. Parsons's audience encounters his visions as he saw them—not all at once but as individual scenes.
         "Between the grand vistas and religious iconography of New Mexico, Parsons's photographs reveal a gentle sense of humor. Not only is he filled with respect and love for his subject, he also laughs with it. A landscape, for example, focuses on Paul's Bar. The sky above is divided by a brilliant rainbow, lit underneath as if sheltering the adobe dive below from the storm.
         "Despite his subject's mystique, what makes Parsons's work so wonderful is the land. It's the photographer's skill. New Mexico is difficult to photograph. The macro is overwhelming. The golden sunlight blinds all but the keenest observers to the minute details. And the vast distances and deep shadows discourage casual exploitation by all but the most intrepid adventures. But, in Dark Beauty, Parsons captures for all of us the material out of which countries are made."
—Joseph Thompson, Fore Word Review

"The phrase 'dark beauty' will never have the tourist appeal of 'the land of enchantment.' But, for photographer Jack Parsons, who has called New Mexico home since the 1960s, it's a perfect summation of how our sun-drenched mesas and star-cloaked skies lend an astral beauty to an arid land that has often exhausted and impoverished its inhabitants.
          "For nearly five decades, Parsons has been making images and documentaries of New Mexico and its traditions and cultures. His books are photographic studies of the state's ranchers, churches, lowriders, chile farmers, artists, Hispano musicians, and Native Americans.
          "But Dark Beauty is a very different Jack Parsons book. Unmoored to specific subject matter, the book takes in photos Parsons shot as recently as last year and as long ago as the 1970s. Selected from his personal library of more than 400,000 photos, the images are a kaleidoscope of all parts of the state. One of the book's most beautiful images shows a rainbow arcing over Paul's Bar in Ranchos de Taos. The faded, fanciful lettering on the now-closed 'Favorita Dancehall' suggests a place where people once worked, loved, and played.
          "Most of the book's photographs have never been published; some have appeared in print but never in a format which Parsons approved. 'I really wanted to put together my New Mexico world in a book that I essentially had control over with design and layput, especially with a designer, David Skolkin, who had seen my vision,' Parsons said.
          "Parsons has a knack for capturing the picturesque. Casual readers of the book may mistake the images as fare for travelers, but, taken as a whole, Dark Beauty records a much more rural New Mexico that has vanished as the state has become more urban and its economy has grown. In Parsons's photos, metallic green lowriders brighten the streets of an unpaved village, chipped and worn 1950s Studebakers slice their way down rural roads, and horses run free through the streets of northern pueblos.
          "Despite the eclectic mix of photos, the images are arranged to have their own narrative quality...These narrative links are the reasons Parsons has always favored books as an outlet for his photography...[And] the story he has to tell in Dark Beauty is one of loss. 'It's about people and places that are just disappearing. They represent a time that has been lost, people who have died, time that has gone on. When I first moved here, whoever heard of a gated community? Now the place is just full of them. In many ways, the democracy of living has disappeared.'"
—Casey Sanchez, The New Mexican, Pasatiempo



Paul's Bar, Ranchos de Taos




Horses running through Taos Pueblo


  "Photographer Jack Parsons has rambled through the Southwest for more than 35 years, gathering images that have appeared in 15 books, including the seminal Santa Fe Style, which helped spread our rural design aesthetic. Dark Beauty features 100 images from his travels through New Mexico—all rarely seen or published and selected from his favorite shots over this time period...We New Mexicans (and fans of New Mexico) love her in all her many hues and moods, and Parsons has captured many of them in this handsome collection."
—New Mexico Magazine


"Man with a Vision: Santa Fe lensman Jack Parsons pays homage to his adoptive home state in Dark Beauty: Photographs of New Mexico. The book's 100 color images were taken over the past 35 years and range from stunning mountain landscapes to scenes of rural communities well past their heydays. Not every picture is pretty, but all are provocative."
The Santa Fean

San Francisco de Asis Church in Ranchos de Taos

Santa Teresa del Nino Church, El Turquillo
  "Su Casa readers may recognize the name Jack Parsons. The Santa Fe-based photographer is a longtime contributor to the magazine. In the classic 1993 design book, Santa Fe Style, his images helped establish a look that continues to be recognized around the world. But from time to time he also points his camera at subjects that have nothing to do with architecture or interior design. His new book, Dark Beauty: Photographs of New Mexico, shows off his skill in capturing the spirit of a state that's like no other."
Su Casa

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