Summer 2022: A Couple of Upcoming Shows

Rocks and Ruins at the Vista Grande Public Library, September, 2022

Reception: Friday, September 9, 3:30 – 5:00 pm

Bisti Wings

In a recent Pasatiempo article Santa Fe photographer Alex Traube says “I couldn’t help photograph that rock…and start doing things with it and become enchanted. I surrender to that enchantment.” I too cannot help photographing rocks and, as it happens, ruins. I am drawn to them: a single pebble on a beach, a fat boulder in a sea of pebbles, a collapsed schoolhouse, an abandoned barn. Some rock formations are so fantastic everyone would want to photograph them. The scant but alluring remains of ancient indigenous settlements (such as Hovenweep, pictured above) have attracted photographers since cameras were invented.

Rocks and ruins are part of the landscape and, in this part of the country, ubiquitous. Hundreds of ghost towns, both ancient and relatively modern, dot New Mexico’s map. The land is rife with long extinct volcanic cones which spewed boulders across its surface. The result in both cases is a compelling geometry of light, lines, textures and shadows.


Rocks and ruins both contrast and complement each other. Rocks are solid, often immovable, randomly placed. They suggest permanence, stasis. Ruins are transitory, fragile looking, placed initially with purpose. Both have stories to tell: rocks of the earth’s history, ruins of human intentions. Both evoke questions: how were these solid things that look like peanut butter created? why were these ruins abandoned? The most ancient, enduring ruins were made of stone.

All of that and alliteration too.

El Gancho

El Gancho is a local (104 Old Las Vegas Hwy in Santa Fe) fitness center with tons of wall space they like to have covered with art. A friend was invited to hang her photographs for the month of August but found the space overwhelming and invited a couple of other photographers, to join her. Here’s a poster I made to introduce us to the patrons.

I plan to hang some old favorites:

and there is some wall space just opposite the child care center that I think will be perfect for those Costa Rica monkey pictures for which I promised to make a new gallery (and that may still happen..):

The El Gancho show will be up from August 1 through August 30, 2022.

Shades of Gray

For the second year in a row the Annual New Mexico Photographic Art Show (ANMPAS) has presented an all black and white photography exhibition. This juried show features about 200 images from New Mexico photographers who may submit up to three images.  I am pleased to have images selected for both shows. Here are five images of mine that have been juried into the exhibit in 2016 and 2017.


The opening reception for this year’s show is Sat., Dec. 2 from 2-4 PM at the EXPO New Mexico (the old Fair Grounds) Fine Art Gallery. It is open to the public Sunday, Dec. 3rd through Wednesday, Dec. 27th; closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Gallery hours are 10am – 5pm.


A photographer should probably not post other photographers’ images on their website. Invariably comparisons will be made. On the other hand some photographers’ work is  so astonishing, so breathtaking, so monumental that it must be shared. Thus I bring you Sebatião Salgado.

I first learned of Salgado when a film called Salt of the Earth was shown here in Santa Fe. It is not to be confused

Sahel 08

From Sahel: The End of The Road

with another classic film of the same name (although you might want to check it out as it has New Mexican historical roots and a powerful social message.) This Salt of the Earth is basically a big screen slide show of Salgado’s images narrated by him and put in the context of his life and philosophy. I was fascinated by both and have an enduring respect and perhaps even love for this man. I will include here a few of his images to tempt you and links to let you find more.

salgado 4

From  Other Americas

salgado 19

From Workers

Salgado, who is Brazilian,  was for many years a photojournalist documenting the catastrophes of the world: mass migrations, genocide, exploitation of workers, neglected peoples. Each project was years in the making and was published in book form. His images, as you see here, are not mere documentations but exquisite evocations of the spirit of the events. Perhaps too evocative because, after about 30 years, the effort nearly killed him. In this (17 minute) TED talk he tells his story.

His camera sat idle for several years, but then Slagado embarked on a new project, the celebration of the earth and its indigenous peoples, where they still exist. The new images are as exuberant and full of hope as the earlier ones were poignant and sobering.



A fitting tribute to this new work can be found here.





Gallery Explorations

Oh brilliant moon

is it true that even you

must run away, as if tardy?                        

                                                  Kabayashi Issa



These and 15 other square format, black and white images are available in a book entitled Small Scapes: Photographs by Joan Concetta Biordi. See the side panel for more information about buying books.