Ed Grazda – Drawn To Worlds Apart

Terri Mangal, Pakistan, 1984; photograph
 

I was working as a photo editor in New York when I met documentary photographer Edward Grazda, now my husband, in 1984 at a mutual friend’s party. He was spending between three and six months a year shooting in Pakistan and Afghanistan — places no one at the time was particularly interested in writing about or showing in galleries.

Juliaca, Peru, 1977; photograph

Juliaca, Peru, 1977; photograph

His work opened up a world I had never had a window into, even though I had worked for GEO magazine and Magnum Photos. I immediately felt the importance of the portfolios he was creating. He had produced a large body of images from South America in the 1970s that also intrigued me. Ed and I spent Thanksgiving of 2006 together, then he left for Oman, commissioned to photograph another striking place where past and present clash. He got stuck there and I didn’t hear from him until he returned in March of 2007.

Dalkut, Dhofar, Oman, 2006; photograph

Dalkut, Dhofar, Oman, 2006; photograph

He went on to publish a small book he called American Color Slides, which I loved instantly. He had begun making regular road trips to the Four Corners (Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah) photographing Navajo trading posts. I joined him on what became an annual trip for the two of us (and in 2010, our honeymoon), though Ed continued to make trips on his own to photograph as well.

Lady in Red, Nevada, 1971; photograph

Lady in Red, Nevada, 1971; photograph

Ed has been drawn to worlds apart, places that have not wholly caught up with the times and where cultural traditions are preserved. He repeatedly returns to photograph over time, creating an alternative vision: a compelling historical document of lives and places we might never know about without his concerted efforts.

Todelana Trading Post, New Mexico, 2010; photograph

Todelana Trading Post, New Mexico, 2010; photograph

Ed Grazda is working on a book about the Navajo Trading posts of the four corners area of New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Colorado. edwardgrazda.com.

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