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The Photos on this page are the property and copyright ©
of Rico Leffanta and Gary Auerbach. They are displayed
with express permission, and subject to copyright laws.
You MUST get in touch with the photographer for permission.

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To PurpleHawk's Apache Photo Gallery III

The Apache of Today


"NA-IH-ES" aka "Sunrise Ceremony"
From the Apache puberty rite for girls.

This part of the ceremony is called "SHA NAL IHL"
(popularly translated as "Candy it is poured") happens on the second day after the girl "becomes" Changing Woman, and therefore holy. It symbolically showers the girl in blessings (you will see candy, nuts, chewing, gum, coins, etc. falling down on her) which she doesn't keep, but directly the items touch her, they are endowed with holiness and therefore become exceptionally desirable resulting in just about everyone throwing themselves at the girl in attempts to secure the blessings.

For many girls, this is a very frightening experience because they are near exhaustion when suddenly they are overwhelmed by bodies, arms and legs flying at them from every direction. Usually, the burden basket is full to overflowing; the more there, the longer it takes people to pick up every piece, and the more time the girl has to catch her breath and composure.

This is a RARE photograph because few photographers are willing to risk themselves or their equipment to get the photo, and photos taken from a safe distance typically look like a photograph of a rugby ruck.   Photo copyright ©Rico Leffanta. 


"Winkleman Flats, Apache Playground"
Called "Winkleman Flats, Apache Playground" is a group of children coming thru the reeds of the Gila river. This image is the most recent of the series on Apache peoples that I have been doing. I really like that Rebekah, Elizabeth, and Carrie have such beautiful smiles. 1999.

It was taken with an 11x14 viewcamera. It is printed in platinum metals on watercolor paper.   Photo Copyright © Gary Auerbach.


Apache Stream
Taken in early 1999. In the river wash, the girls of the Miles family of San Carlos weave a traditional basket. This photograph was the second in a series of photo shoots done on the San Carlos reservation.
Taken with an 11x14 view camera. Platinum palladium print. Gary Auerbach.

Cochise Stronghold
The stronghold is where Cochise and his followers lived for 22 years. Due to an incident at Apache Pass, the army set out to capture Cochise. Whenever the military would try to catch him, Cochise's sentinals on the viewpoints of the stronghold could see them approaching miles and hours away. I have a small cabin in the canyon, a very special place. The particular image here is taken with an 8x10 view camera during a snow storm. The picture speaks for itself.  Copyright  ©Gary Auerbach.

Taos Cemetery
Taken in 1992. Terisimo, the man leaning on the wall, lives in an apartment at the Taos Pueblo about 75 feet from the ancient cemetary. There was snow on the ground. Rather than focus on the church building remains that were left over from the Indian wars, I chose a quieter spot, with the ancient crosses and the adobe wall in semi-ruins. Wrapped in a traditional manner with a blanket, Terisimo, the battle chief of the Pueblo, sends a poetic message to those of us from the outside.
Taken with an 8x10 view camera. It is printed on Cranes stationary paper with handcoated platinum, palladium metals.  Copyright  ©Gary Auerbach.

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Apache Gallery 
Apache Gallery II 

Apache Gallery IV 

Apache Gallery V 

Apache Gallery VI 


Rico Leffanta Gary Auerbach

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Updated October 10, 2008 by Who Else....PurpleHawk