I have to say that sometimes I get discouraged with what I’m doing and then I have to remember to look at the bright side and when I do, great things happen. The other day, my partner, who received a new assignment at the laboratory, was given a beautiful going away party and I, along with his family, were invited in the celebration. I met a number of his co-workers who are all very sad that he’s leaving yet very happy for his new high-ranking position he was given.
A wonderful woman, Debbi, whom he has been working with the past couple of months sat down by me and we started to talk. Debbi mentioned that she was interested in the work I’m trying to do with my “Old School Santa Fe Group” on Facebook and my history walking tour app and said she has something I would be interested in, since I love history and especially Zozobra. We decided to cut out of the party and proceeded to her office where she had this amazing collection of historic photos.
Debbi started to tell me about this gentlemen Richard Cooley who happened to be the official photographer of the laboratory when the lab was still “top secret” back in 1944. Richard who was assigned to the Counter Intelligence Corps (Army) for the Manhattan Project had one of the 1st color film cameras. During his “off” time he would roam around Santa Fe (much like me) to capture photographs of our wonderful city. One day Richard happened to be exploring during the Santa Fe Fiestas and captured some amazing photos, which happen to include the burning of Zozobra.
These images are mind blowing and as much as I love and appreciate these photos I am in amazement as to the color and detail. I am in awe at how short Zozobra was and I am especially in awe of the shot with Zozobra on fire, yet I am confused as to why these look like they were taken during the day time and I’m super curious as to why everyone is dressed as clowns.
I, nor anyone else (for that matter), have ever seen these images taken by Richard, until now.
I spoke with my brother Ray, our fearless leader of Zozobra, and he gave up some interesting information about these images and he mentioned that in Will Shuster’s diary Zozobra shrunk this year due to the lack of materials due to the war and the reason Zozobra is burning during the day is because this was part of a float for the Santa Fe Fiesta and that there was still another Zozobra that burned at night!
Now I wish I knew why everyone was dressed as a clown.
THANK YOU DEBBI for trusting me and giving me the honor of sharing Richard’s photos with my family and friends.
I hope you enjoy.