Back in 1990 I toured New Mexico, photographing mostly with infrared film. I also had a couple of rolls of Tri-X and I think one roll of Kodachrome. When I visited Chimayó, I happened to have Tri-X in the camera. I went behind the little church to discover three crosses resting against the wall. The crosses were empty, so I thought that Jesus and the two thieves had gone up to heaven by means of the ladder. Just as I clicked, a boy ran into the picture and stroke a perfect pose, and the sun broke through the clouds. I never took the photo I had seen, with the three empty crosses. The next frame on the roll is of the boy riding his bicycle around the church.
I went back ten years later with Carlos Fresneda to work on a travel story for Siete Leguas. The place had changed completely. News of the miraculous dirt from the little church had spread far and pilgrims were now visiting from all over the planet. A row of port-a-potties filled the enlarged parking lot. I went behind the church looking for the crosses, but nothing remained.by