Saturday, August 18, 2007

North from here.

“La Aguja”, the area south of “El Triple”, currently being developed as a resort, used to be a place for farming.
Still one can see the fields that were once cultivated.
A dam that had been built and some stone houses.
But in 1979 already the farming had been abandoned and “La Aguja” is now finding a second life as eventually a place for tourists and holidays.

The same goes for “La Ballena”, to the north of “El Triple”.
At about a 45 minutes walk.
It is a small valley along a dry riverbed where once a small farm was with fields around it.

In 1979 it was also abandoned but about 12 years ago a Mexican family moved in.
They had brought their cattle and tried to make a living.
This was Francisco Xavier Cardena, his parents and his sister.

In those days, living and working at “El Triple” was together with the beautiful and highly talented artist Mayumi Nakazaki, originally from Tokyo and wife for over 8 years.
Soon we became friends with Xavier and his family until one winter, when returning from Europe to “El Triple”, “La Ballena” was abandoned again.

For years “La Ballena” remained untouched.
The small farming house detoriated and collapsed and the large fields were retaken by nature.

Very rarely the owner of “La Ballena” would come by.
Don Leonardo Castro.
A true caballero from La Paz who owned hundreds and hundreds of acres of land including “El Triple”.
He would come accompanied by his sons in a nice SUV and have a friendly chat.

About 7 years ago Don Leonardo Castro sold his property to a Canadian company that wanted to develop the area in a kind of tourist town.
The Canadian company had a big bulldozer come in that made all kinds of dirt roads in the area.
However, the next year they failed to pay Don Leonardo Castro the annual payment on the purchase price and the property returned to him.

The bulldozed roads slowly collapsed and blended into nature.

For years nothing happened.
Until last year.
In 2006, around this time, a white Chevrolet Suburban came to “El Triple”.
Out came two American couples.
The men dressed in shorts only and having a beer in their hands.

The man with the most impressive physique approached and asked:
“What are you doing here?”.
A rather puzzling question and this the man must have noticed.
He said:
“You know, I am the new owner here”.
The man was Jeff Knaus from Ross, California, USA.
It was explained to Mr. Knaus that since 1979 “El Triple” was the location where conceptual photography was made, published in several books, exhibited worldwide and in the collections of major museums in the USA and Europe.

Mr. Knaus explained that he and his associates were intending to develop the area into an ecological friendly resort.
Prepared to make investments of millions of Dollars.
But he stated also that as long as the actual realization of the resort had not started the work on the conceptual photography could continue.
“It’s fine with me when you are here working on your pictures”, Jeff Knaus said.

However, shortly after, an e-mail was received.
It said:


I hate to bring you bad news, but at the advice of our counsel, you need to leave the property.

Please trust that I personally am fine with you being there, but this is not my decision to make.

Sorry, please let me know your plans to close up and move off the property.

Let me know that you are OK with this and thanks,


This e-mail initiated an exchange of messages and for the moment there seems to be a status quo.
It has been explained to Jeff Knaus that obviously, as soon as the bulldozers come to transform this area, this photographer has no more reason to stay at “El Triple”.
The landscape will change drastically making it impossible to make any more conceptual photography.
A new location somewhere else will be found.

Jeff Knaus’counsel probably fears that because for so many years “El Triple” has been the location to work, certain rights could be claimed.
That might be valid in the USA, but “El Triple” is in Mexico and Mexican law applies here.
Mexican law says that although “El Triple” is private property, the roads are public and need to remain open for everybody.
It also says that within a certain distant from the high tide line of the ocean anybody can access that area.

Fortunately, there is no conflict with Jeff Knaus.
In e-mail communication it has been proposed by him that for the time to come staying at “El Triple” could be allowed in exchange for the photographic works made there.
To use in the promotion and publicity when selling the lots in this area.

For the moment not much is happening.
In the valley where is the abandoned “La Ballena” rancho, an old class A motor home is hauled in which a caretaker is living.
A kind of metal hangar is build to store materials.
The well has been cleaned and a pump house build.
And a nursery has been started to have trees and plants to surround the houses that are intended to be built.

Because the activities to develop resorts around here takes place in the valleys relatively far from “El Triple”, nothing can be noticed yet.

The peace and the harmony continue.
But the clock is ticking.


No comments: