UNESCO designated Santa Fe, New Mexico, the first "Creative City" in the United States in 2005. Since the arrival of the railroad in 1880, Santa Fe has actively promoted its image as a leading arts destination. Much has been written about the contributions painters and crafts people have made to attracting diverse peoples to the region, lured by images depicted in paintings, woodcuts, and engravings and by indigenous textiles, ceramics, basketry, and jewelry. Until now, however, little has been written about the contributions photography has made to the creation of Santa Fe in both its public and private personas.
From the 1880s to the present, photography has been used effectively both to document and to promote Santa Fe. Through the Lens: Creating Santa Fe tells the visual history of place and of the medium that contributed so much to its public invention. The selected images, representing more than one hundred noted photographers, illuminate the multiple meanings of place given to this evolving landscape and its various inhabitants.
Included are early practitioners Jesse Nusbaum, Ben Wittick, and Thomas J. Curran, Christian G. Kaadt, Parkhurst and Curtis; and such artists of renown as Lewis Baltz, Paul Caponigro, Lee Friedlander, Adams,Weston, and Strand. Through the Lens: Creating Santa Fe provides contextual perspective on how photography has been used over the years to record and promote Santa Fe's image but also is a history of photography from its earliest days of documentation to the fine-art status it gained in its own right among the arts of the Southwest. The book, in addition, is a visual record of transformation in Santa Fe over the last 130 years that reveals existential experiences resulting from shifting boundaries, differing patterns of cultural behavior, and changing perspectives of natural, man-made, and symbolic environments. While some of the photographs, panoramas, or aerial shots, for example, provide a broad perspective on these transformations, Through the Lens also contains photographs that reveal a more personal side of the city's social history and the overlays of Native American, Hispano, and Anglo cultures interacting locally.
[about the editors]
Mary Anne Redding, a curator, archivist, and arts administrator, is the Curator of Photography at the Palace of the Governors/ New Mexico History Museum in Santa Fe. Redding has duel Master's Degrees in Arts Administration and Information and Library Science as well as advanced studies in photography and art history.
Krista Elrick (M.F.A. Photography, 1990; B.A. Cultural Anthropology, 1980) is a photographer whose work is exhibited nationally and has been included in such publications as Never Say Goodbye: The Albuquerque Rephotographic Survey Project. A Santa Fe resident, she regularly lectures on the photographic history of the West.