Blog

Information 2017

In the afternoons I often walk Remi in the arroyo near St. John’s College here in Santa Fe. Not too long ago, I came upon a dozen phone books that had been dumped alongside the otherwise pristine trail. Having just read an article on Julius Friedman’s book project (http://oldstonepress.com/library/the-book/), I felt inspired to take a photo of these weathered lumps. As time went on, I took more photos and delighted in discovering what could be done with them.

Click on an image to see it full frame; then you can leaf through the entire series.

Blue Loves (2016)

These days, I think about how I might have done things differently in my life. I’m told that happens as you get old. More than anything else, I think about former loves, girlfriends and wives. My past loves wander in and out of my thoughts and inhabit my dreams, dreams that are monochromatic, cast is the blue of memory, longing and regret.

 

Click on any image to enlarge it and browse through the series. 

My Labradorables (2016)

Black Dog Love

Child-dog-tree-4

One summer when I was a child, I spend a month in rural Connecticut, where I became friends with a big black dog. One day, after lunch, I found him snoozing on the grass in the shade of a tall tree in front of the house. He looked so comfortable that I lay down beside him, resting my head on his gently rising and falling side. When I awoke, it was as if I had been injected with gentle-big-black-dog love serum.

 

Remi

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More than fifty years after that summer in Connecticut, I placed an ad on Craig’s List for a black Labrador Retriever, an American field style dog. I had almost given up hope when a man called and told me he was moving to Albuquerque and could not keep his Lab. He said that he was a duck hunter, that the dog was not named after a cognac, but a rifle. This June 26 marks the one-year anniversary of the day that I met and adopted Remington. She is probably the last Black Lab I will have. And I love her with an especial, almost painful fervor. Above are photos from our year together.

 

Brutus

Brutie-and-me

When I was twenty-three, I worked during the summer as a photographer for the Aspen Illustrated News. One day, listening to the radio in my car, I heard that someone was giving away a black Labrador Retriever. The woman was going to graduate school in Denver and could not keep him. As with Remi all those years later, we shared an immediate, unbreakable bond. Brutie and I were together for the next ten years.

 

Duke

Duke-lake copy

A friend in Santa Fe told me about a litter of Labs of which there was one left. The owner traded me Duke for a photograph that I had taken of the Rio Grande Gorge. Duke often accompanied me when I photographed, and after a time, would sit in front of the camera as if to say, Dad, why aren’t you paying attention to me? When Duke died, a deep, deep wellspring of sorrow poured out of me. I thought my heart would break.

 

Slugger

Slugger-bk-porch copy

While we were still grieving for Duke, several people told us about a breeder in Madison, Wisconsin. We called, drove up, and that is where we got adorable baby Slugger. Back in Chicago, it seemed that all the dogs and dog people in our neighborhood fell in love with him. We had doggie play group every night at ten, and dog beach at the lake in the summer. He had a grand life in Chicago.

 

Sami

_Sami_float copy

We got Sami—we named her after the Cubs right fielder—to keep Slugger company and help alleviate his post-Chicago blues after we returned to Santa Fe. Sami lived till age fifteen, longer than any of my dogs. Even in old age, she swam in the Rio Grande, slowly, majestically paddling her way back to shore.

 

June 26, 2016

Remi-me-Picachio

It has been one year since I brought Remi home with me. I love her, and because of her, I am reminded of my other dogs, whose love and companionship have so enriched my life. I will carry the gentle-big-black-dog-love all my days.

Saturday Art Tour (2015)

February 13, 2016:  I hopped on my bike in Santa Fe and rode to the Lannan Foundation where there was an exquisite small show of contemporary paintings by Anselm Keifer, Morris Louis and others as well as two drawings by Sol Lewitt. As I was leaving, I photographed a lone orchid in the sunlight. Next I went to the O’Keeffe Museum, where there was a quirky and delightful show of Susan York’s carbon pieces interspersed with O’Keeffe paintings to which they related; while there I photographed the shadow of a tree on a large window shade. And, finally, I arrived at the New Mexico Museum of Art, where Shakespeare’s First Folio was on view as well as a stunning show of guitars from hundreds of years ago to the present time. Sitting in the gorgeous museum courtyard afterwards, I photographed a chile ristra hanging above some native grasses. The triptych below is my offering from that day. All photos conveniently taken with my iPhone.

Saturday-Triptych

 

James Turrell in Houston (2016)

I was in Houston in January to see the Mark Rothko show at the Museum of Fine Arts. One way to get from one of the MFA’s buildings to the other is through a tunnel/hallway in which there is an extraordinary Turrell installation.

James-Turrel-walkway

After spending a good bit of the day at the MFA, we walked over to the Rice University campus and visited Turrell’s Twilight Epiphany Skyspace in which the center of the two-story structure in open to the darkening sky. Light is projected onto the interior walls and ceiling in a changing array of rainbow colors. The effect is quite magical. The montage below was shot with my iPhone from where I was seated.

Skyscape-Montage-2

Google Earth Is His Muse

Google Earth Is His Muse, an article by Philip Gefter, in the August 28, 2015 New York Times is about the photographic work of Mishka Henner. It is part of an increasing trend of photographers using the Web to source and share images.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/30/arts/design/mishka-henner-uses-google-earth-as-muse-for-his-aerial-art.html?_r=0

Henner-image

Poetry Matters: A Collaboration Between New Mexico CultureNet and Santa Fe Community College

In 2012, New Mexico CultureNet, the educational nonprofit organization that I founded in 1997, collaborated with the Video Services Department at Santa Fe Community College (Doreen Gallegos, Director) to videotape New Mexico poets reading and performing their work. Most of these videos are available on Youtube by searching “New Mexico CultureNet.” The objective of this project was to provide readings by a culturally diverse group of  poets for students, teachers and lovers of poetry to enjoy and be inspired by.

 

© Alex Traube
Poet Jasmine Sena Cuffe

New Mexico CultureNet’s Poets-in-the-Schools Program

For years, New Mexico CultureNet sponsored poets to work in public middle schools and high schools. The poets we hired were dynamic and diverse and inspiring. Below is a performances by the luminous Jasmine Sena Cuffe. You can find many more on Youtube by searching, “New Mexico CultureNet.”

Since 1997,  Poets-in-the-Schools have reached thousands of students, teachers and community members throughout New Mexico. The goals of the program are to promote literacy, student self-confidence and tolerance of people “other” than oneself. Another goal is to support teachers. Our poets have worked in schools and with agencies in pretty much every corner of New Mexico:

Alameda Middle School, Santa Fe, Albuquerque High School, Bernalillo Middle School, Capital High School, Santa Fe, Capshaw Middle School, Santa Fe, Carlos Vigil Middle School, Española, Center for the Study & Education of Diverse Populations, NMHU, Chaparral High School, De Vargas Middle School, Santa Fe, Des Moines High School, Eldorado Middle School, Futures for Children, Girl Scouts, Grants High School, Kirkland Middle School, Farmington, Lovington Junior High School, Lovington High School, Los Lunas Middle School, New Mexico Children, Families & Youth, NM Higher Education Department, NM Suicide Intervention Program, Ortiz Middle School, Santa Fe, Pecos Middle School, Pojoaque Middle School, Pojoaque Valley High School, Ratón High School, Santa Fe High School, Soccoro Middle School, Tse Bit’Ai Middle School, Shiprock, University of New Mexico Creative Writing Program, and Upward Bound.

PITS Poster-07

Click on poster to enlarge it.

Henry Holmes Smith and Cameraless Photography

Uncle Henry

Henry Holmes Smith, Bloomington, Indiana, 1973

Henry Holmes Smith taught photography at Indiana University, where he founded the first MFA program in Photography in the country. Henry had a unique way of making images, no doubt influenced by his former career as a cartoonist. He would use a thick, pitted and scratched piece of plate glass and draw on it with light and dark Caro Syrup. Under darkroom safe lights, he would place a piece of photographic paper behind the glass, stand the glass upright, causing the syrup to run, and then flash the sensitized paper with light. He would develop the print, and if he liked the results, would have it copied onto 4×5 film, which he could reproduce. He called these images Refraction Prints.

Below are ten of Henry’s Refraction Prints that are from Portfolio II: The Work of Henry Holmes Smith, produced and published by the Center for Photographic Studies, 1973.

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HHS-signature

Anne Noggle: A Unique Talent

The Effortless Honesty of Anne Noggle

Anne-Noggle

 Anne Noggle, ca. 1943 and ca. 1987

Anne Noggle was irascible, willful and tough. During WWII, Anne was a WASP (Women’s Air Service Pilot), towing targets that were used for artillery practice behind her plane. After the war, she worked as a crop duster before taking up photography. She was a student of Van Deren Coke’s at the University of New Mexico and later served as Photography Curator at the Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Fe.

Her photographs, specifically, her self-portraits, are among the most significant photographic art of the late 20th Century. Using herself as the subject, they address aging, self-image and emotional vulnerability in women. Noggle’s work, in my opinion, relates well to Cindy Sherman’s “Film Stills,” self-portraits commenting on stereotypical roles of women in 1950s films. Together, the photographs of Sherman and Noggle would make a splendid show. Below is a selection of Anne’s photographs.