New Mexico is a photographers' paradise: the incandescent quality of the light, dramatic cloud formations, and expansive landscape have attracted photographers to our state since nearly the beginning of photographic history. From about 1850 to the present, photography has been used effectively to document, create, and promote Santa Fe.

Through the Lens: Creating Santa Fe is a visual history of Santa Fe, New Mexico — as it celebrates its 400th anniversary as the oldest capital city in North America. These images, selected from the collection of the Photo Archives at the Palace of the Governors and through studio visits with contemporary photographers, illuminate the multiple meanings of place.

Through the Lens: Creating Santa Fe is a visual record of transformation. The exhibition is divided into three broad and overlapping themes: Place, Identity, and History. While some of the photographs provide a broad perspective on cultural and social transformation, the exhibition also contains photographs that reveal a more intimate side of the city's history.

Santa Fe is a city that continues to honor its past and its many cultural traditions. It retains, though now quite fragilely, its hold on the land, light, and sky that have brought photographers here for over a century.

Excerpted from the curatorial statement by Krista Elrick & Mary Anne Redding
and the introduction by Frances Levine
Through the Lens: Creating Santa Fe
Santa Fe: MNM Press, 2009