Craig Varjabedian

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"Teaching is one of the greatest experiences of my life. Next to making photographs and spending time with my family (not necessarily in that order), sharing what I have learned after making thousands of photographs is a great joy in my life. “By teaching others you will learn yourself,” the Armenian spiritual teacher Georges Gurdjieff once said. I think he was right. The number of things I have learned through teaching over the years could stun a bull in its tracks. It truly amazes me."

Craig Varjabedian’s memory of the day that inspired his passion for photography is as clear as the glacial waters of Lake Louise in his native Canada. Craig was seven years old and in awe of the majestic landscape around him. His mother encouraged him to peer into the viewfinder of the family’s Kodak camera for the first time and release the shutter. In that instant, he discovered the wonder of capturing a moment in time.

Later lured by the enigmatic vistas and people of the American West, Craig made Santa Fe, New Mexico, his home and found the artistic voice that is the hallmark of his fine art photography.

Craig’s passion is creating art that explores and expresses the truth of his experiences in intimate portraits and luminous landscapes. His luminous photographs reflect his heart-felt connection to authenticity and beauty; the photographer uses the depths of black & white and the nuances of color to move viewers beyond the realm of simple print on paper. For over forty years, he has pursued photography projects that have called to him to tell a visual story, from his seven year odyssey photographing the moradas of the Penitente Brotherhood to his current portrait exploration of Native Americans. By observing and discovering what a place or person reveals, he creates his most successful work. Trusting this will happen requires detachment from his everyday world and being totally present, seeing deeply, and penetrating subjects by allowing the work to come from the inside out.

Varjabedian has distinguished himself through eleven award-winning books, receiving several grants including two from the National Endowment for the Arts and an Emmy Award television documentary. A selection of the books published on Craig Varjabedian’s photographic work include: En Divina Luz: The Penitente Moradas of New Mexico, Four & Twenty Photographs: Stories from Behind the Lens, Ghost Ranch and the Faraway Nearby and Landscape Dreams, A New Mexico Portrait. His upcoming book Into the Great White Sands celebrates the beauty of White Sands National Monument, will be published by the University of New Mexico Press in Spring 2018.