Nigthtime Power

30 … Imaginations soar with night when all one can see is lit by man or moon…

Governor's Mansion ruin at night, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Light and shadow, substance and form, history and echos, spirits and ghosts.

In the night, things from the past bump into modern moments. As example, aged columns, scarred by events that rushed through time, are illuminated by electricity. As example, Sonora and Sinoloa were merged into a new state of Occidente and in November 1827 Alamos was declared its capital. On January 10, 1828, Governor Jose Maria Gaxiola moved into his official residence behind the walls seen above. Here, decisions were made that shaped those days, life was lived to match royalty in Spain and the mines to the west were in full production and… You are here…

Calle Comercio at night, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Calle Comercio on a summer midnight, 1996. Even spirits must sleep.

If that police pickup truck, parked across the street from the Police station, wasn’t there then where could we be, and when? The answer is Alamos, Sonora, Mexico circa both 1800 and 2011. This is a portrait of power. At the western end, the cobblestones leads one up the steps and into the Cathedral’s side doors. Down the block to the east, the Governor and Bishop mansions were, and are, across the street from one another. Thousands of miles to the east is Spain, thousands of miles to the west is China and at one time they were both here, and today their DNA marches on.

The hospital in Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

There is no mistaking this for the past. Modern lines, modern times.

On the way into Alamos Centro a regional – basic care hospital is setback on the right. At night, this scene could be an emergency room anywhere in the world. I had need to visit after one long difficult day into night. The doctors were here in Alamos for one year’s mandatory service, a bridge between medical school and where they would go to make their livings. That night, my doctor came from outside Guadalajara and hoped he would be going to Tijuana, to be on the frontier of modern Mexico. I was impressed by how he looked me in the eyes, how he touched and probed, and by the questions he asked and how he listened and responded to my answers. He was in the moment, and the moment was all about bringing me comfort. It was not about profit or loss. It was about me.

X-rays were needed to evaluate what was happening in my chest. Alas, their x-ray machine was down for repairs. He gave me a shot to reduce my discomfort and asked me to bring him back chest x-rays. He had done all he could do. The morning began meeting the Police chief in his office, at his request, and ended up on a midnight taxi cab ride to Navajoa in search of x-rays. And this day will be another of the twelve Alamos short stories I am preparing to write.

Tis the Season of Love and Jackets.
Christmas in the Plaza de Las Armas is a time of of sharing and joy. Food, fireworks and the town coming out to be seen and see is what community is all about.

It is In The Night That the Past Dances Down Narrow Streets
Oh little town of Alamos. Lights sparkle in the evening darkness. Pungent smells float with the shifting breeze. Music, live and recorded, rises up from the homes and neighborhoods. Birds sing under star filled skies. Dogs bark and cars pass by. Footsteps on cobblestone and smoke from fireplaces create mystic moments. Children of all ages play late into the night on the quiet streets.

Night time is not threatening, it is a celebration of another day both coming and going. Night time is magical. The town seems smaller. The world becomes all you can see looking down a street. It is easy to focus on the smallest thing. And behind the walls there are other worlds: private legacies, conversations., comforts, learnings, entertainments, deliberations, dreams.
 Photos and editing by Anders Tomlinson. Music from “Camino Songs” by SonicAtomics.

The Place to Be and Be Seen
It is a wonderful feeling to sit with a friend in the plaza on a pleasant evening. Here, one can watch people come, be and go. This is the a place to be seen and see. When all have come and gone it becomes a romantic refuge for a young couple.


Imagine horse drawn carriages, burro pack trains, and cars that have come into Alamos along these streets. Imagine the families that have been here for centuries. Imagine the change of government, some peaceful some violent. It is all here in the shadows of night. Photos and editing by Anders Tomlinson.
Music from “Camino Songs” by SonicAtomics.

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©2013 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Night Magic Photos

Nightfall brings out spirits, ghosts and legends.

Oh little town of Alamos dreams, as seen from Gringo Point in the Sierra de Alamos.

Lights sparkle in the evening darkness. Pungent smells float with the shifting breeze. Music rises up from the homes and neighborhoods. Birds sing under star filled skies. Dogs bark and cars passe by. Footsteps on cobblestone and smoke from fireplaces create mystic.

Friends gather outside a Friday night dance.

Anders arrived his on first visit to Alamos at 4 am, after an 18 hour drive from Tijuana. Coming into town at night accented the fact he had arrived in a place where time stood still and discovery awaits. Seeing the town in morning light did not diminish his first impression.

Thick walls embrace outside and inside a house on Calle Comercio.

Children of all ages play late into the night on the quiet streets. Dogs and cats lay together by front doors. Night time is not threatening, it is a celebration of another day both coming and going.

Romantic songs, live and recorded, come from many houses aglow with music.

Music concerts happen on a public and private level. Guitars and singing takes place all over Alamos. Singing and dancing are part of the passion for life that begins as little children and continues throughout life. It is felt with every step and heartbeat.

The plaza at night is refuge for a young couple.

It is a wonderful feeling to sit in the plaza on a pleasant evening with a friend. Here, one can watch the people come and go. The church draws people throughout the day and into the evening.
It is a joy to listen to the church choirs practice.

The Estudiantina entertains at a local hotel.

The Estudiantina de Alamos are a group of young men learning music and performance styles from the days of old. The Museo de Costumbrista de Sonora coordinates their training and busy schedules. They are bring a pride and joy wherever they go.

For over 300 years people have been in their homes on this corner.

The thick walls help keep out the cold and heat and hold in the spirits of anyone who has walked inside. If there is a place where past, present and future come together it is inside the walls of Alamos. These photos are slices, literally. from a portfolio of 100 Alamos night scenes by Anders Tomlinson. Some day Alamos may be able to look at them on exhibit or projected at night.

On a road heading out of the colonial center lights become fewer..

Imagine the horse drawn carriages, the burro pack trains, and cars that have come into Alamos along these streets. Imagine the families that have been here for centuries. Imagine the change of government, some peaceful some violent. It is all here in the shadows of night.

Two friends share thoughts at the entrance to town center.

Summer nights find townsfolk outdoors in the cooling air. The sky can light up with a roll of distant thunder. If it begins to rain people stay under the sky and embrace the blessed moisture. Listen to the crickets. Listen to your heart.

Rain is always welcomed in Alamos. It is Life.

Night time is magical. The town seems smaller. The world becomes all you can see looking down a street. It is easy to focus on the smallest thing.
And behind the walls there is another world. Private legacies. Conversations. Comforts.
Learnings. Entertainments. Deliberations. Dreams…

Return to the home page or visit the Alamos photo portfolios.

©2010 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.