Monday, June 27, 2016
I went to the Phoenix Art Museum last week to see an exhibit of photos by David Taylor. Between 2007 and 2015, Taylor worked on a project to photograph all 276 of the obelisks that mark the border between the United States and Mexico. Working between El Paso Texas/Juarez Mexico (where the border leaves the Rio Grande river and moves across land to the Pacific Ocean at San Diego California/Tijuana Mexico. The obelisks were put in place during the 1890's by the International Boundary Commission and they were documented then by photographer D. R. Payne. In 2015, Taylor published a book with pictures of each obelisk in numerical order and this exhibit also includes all 276 photos along the wall above. It was fascinating to see how the terrain changes and how some obelisks are now surrounded by border walls and fences while others in rougher terrain are still wide open.
Above is a closer shot of some of the photos so you can get a better idea of how they look. Many people have called them 'mile-markers' but the placement was not measured that way. They were placed with consideration that they would be visible from each other. Most of them are between 2.5 and 3.5 miles apart along the 690 mile stretch from the Rio Grand to the Pacific Ocean.