Wednesday, July 16, 2014

There Is No Why Here: Fragments of the Holocaust

When Italian chemist Primo Levi arrived at Auschwitz, after a winter train ride jammed into unheated box cars with 650 other Jews, he was thirsty. Hanging from the eave of a building were icicles. Levi asked a guard if he could have one. The guard said, “No”. Levi asked why. The guard responded, “There is no why here.”  Levi survived Auschwitz along with only 20 of the 650 Jews who arrived there with him. Millions more were murdered in the death camps. As the magnitude of the Holocaust became clear, Winston Churchill said, “We are in the presence of a crime without a name.” The word genocide resulted from Churchill's comment.

Art often doesn't need a name or a word to explain something.  Seventy years later there is still no “why” in the remains of the Nazi extermination camps. Artist Karl Koenig's photography stands as haunting, evocative portrayals of the senseless evil. Over a span of ten years, from 1994-2004, he photographed what was left of the camps and turned those photographs into unique art works that give viewers a glimpse, a fragment, of what the camps were.

Koenig was a New Mexico artist of international renown. That fame rested, in large part, on the decade of work he spent photographing the remnants of ten Nazi death camps. He was haunted by the questions raised by the Holocaust and sought answers through his art.

Beginning with straight photographs, Koenig developed them into majestic, harrowing works of art using a unique printing process he invented and perfected. The end result was a transformational body of art that explores the pure evil of the camps. The resulting gumoil prints, each of which took several weeks to produce, are powerful photographs of the remains of Holocaust concentration camps.  

His work has been exhibited in galleries and museums all over the world but, never before, in his native New Mexico. Now his photographs are coming home to New Mexico. You can see them for yourself at the Albuquerque Photographers' Gallery from August 16th through September 30th; the opening reception is August 16th; 5:00 – 9:00 p.m.

In addition to the original prints, shown at the Houston Holocaust Museum exhibition, a few original gumoil prints from the series will be available for purchase as will copies of Koenig's book, Fragments: Architecture of the Holocaust, An Artist's Journey Through the Camps.

The Albuquerque Photographers' Gallery is located in Albuquerque's Old Town at 303 Romero Street. You'll find it on the second floor, in the Northeast corner of Don Luis Plaza, across the street to the west of the church. (There is an elevator on the south side of the building.)  The gallery will be open during the exhibition every day from 10 A.M. until 6 P.M. Further information is available at the gallery's website:

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Meet the Artist: Urey Lemen

As a member since the gallery's inception, Urey is APG's longest standing member. Best known for his breathtaking landscapes, Urey's use and understanding of light and his technical precision in image capture results in a portrayal of classic Southwestern themes in an unparalleled fashion. You can find Urey at various shows throughout the year, particularly those associated with the CSA/New Mexico Artists' Market, in addition to year-round at APG.

I spoke a bit with Urey regarding his history in photography. Here's what he had to say:

How did you come to love photography?
I have loved photography since I was a child. My father took slides and super 8 movies. I picked it up from him, though I didn’t get really serious until after I retired.”

Did the work of anyone in particular inspire you?
Like a lot of photographers, I really loved the work of Ansel Adams. I had my own little darkroom and did all of my own developing and printing of black and white images.”

What's your favorite subject to photograph?
I’m lucky to live in the Southwest. I love the landscapes here, both grand and close up. Red rocks, mountains, waterfalls, Indian ruins, flowers; the Southwest has it all.”

Do you do a lot of planning for a shoot, or are you more of an opportunist?
I’m probably mostly an opportunistic shooter. As an avid outdoorsman, I am out camping and fishing a lot. I always have a camera with me. That said, I take a few trips each year that are planned around photography.”

Describe your creative process.
I love capturing images. Frankly, I have never been great about working on them. I have boxes and boxes of slides and digital images that never see the light of day. I need to work on what I already have more.”

It sounds like we have a lot to look forward to where Urey's work is concerned!  You can find the images included here and many more at APG. Check out Urey's webpage as well as his page at APG for other examples of his work!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Christmas Luminaries

Christmas Luminaries

Whether you call them luminaries or farolitos these bags with candles are a Christmas Eve tradition in New Mexico.  Traditionally they were meant to help guide the Christ child to your home.
This image was taken at the 17th century ruin of the San Jose de Los Jemez Mission Church in Jemez Springs, New Mexico.  Moon light provided some nice fill light for me.  ISO 1600, f/13, 30 sec exposure

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Meet the Artist: Robert Crespin

Robert Crespin has been with APG for three years now, and the gallery truly wouldn't be the same without him.  A prolific and award winning artist, you can always count on Roberto's wall to have something new and different when you come into the gallery.  You may have seen his work this past year at the New Mexico Arts & Crafts Fair, The Contemporary Hispanic Market, or in the Albuquerque Water Utility Authority 2013 Calendar.

Here's a little more about the artist, straight from the source.

As a native New Mexican, I have lived among the Western Cowboy, Pueblo Indian, and Northern New Mexico Hispanic cultures of my state. I grew up watching my mother painting landscapes and flowers, and was inspired to see her use of light, shadows, and colors, and her understanding of the beauty of the world. I strive to capture these elements in my photography.

The Land of Enchantment’s striking landscapes and diverse cultures create a special environment for artists. New Mexico’s unique lighting is something artists have been inspired by for decades.  Every day I work on perfecting my skills, and I enjoy creating fine art that will stir a feeling, tickle a sense, or inspire you to create something within you. I hope you enjoy what I have captured through my lens.

Gracias y Bienvenidos,
Robert Crespin

Nature is man’s teacher.  She unfolds her treasures to his search.  Unseals his eye, illumes his mind, and purifies his heart; An influence breathes from all the sights and sounds of her existence.  
-Alfred Billings Street

Monday, March 4, 2013

Bisti Wonderland

The Bisti Badlands are in Northwest New Mexico.  It is a wonderland of weird formations and visas.  This image was taken in an area commonly called the "egg factory".  My name for this image however is "On the Half Shell".  If you are ever in the area be sure to give the Bisti a look.  The badlands are on BLM land.  Most of the nicer formations are about a mile hike from the parking lot.
Urey Lemen

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Added Incentive

We now have another great reason why you should come to the gallery this Friday, 6-9 PM, for the opening reception of Lee Marmon: "The Acoma Collection".

1)  You'll really want to meet the very personable artist and hear his many stories.

2)  You also don't want to miss seeing his amazing photographs.

And now:

3)  High Noon Restaurant & Saloon has graciously offered to provide a selection of mouthwatering hors d'oeuvres for the reception. Check out their facebook page for more information about the restaurant and to see some photos of their tempting food.

Lee Marmon: "The Acoma Collection"

His photos — historic and unique — are as diverse as the life he has lived. Best known for his iconic photograph “White Man's Moccasins”, which embodies the clash of two cultures, Laguna Pueblo photographer Lee Marmon has chronicled the history of his people for more than six decades.

Beginning on March 1st through April 30th, the Albuquerque Photographers’ Gallery presents “Lee Marmon, The Acoma Collection”, with a reception for the artist on Friday, March 1st, from 6 to 9 pm.

Lee Marmon embarked on his extraordinary career after serving in World War II when he started photographing tribal elders at the suggestion of his father. From that beginning, his work took him to Hollywood, the White House, Acoma Pueblo and back home to Laguna. Along the way he photographed presidents, celebrities, tribal elders, dancers, and sacred landscapes of the Southwest. His work is a unique visual record of American life and has garnered many awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Santa Fe Indian Market and The Czech Republic's Kantuta humanitarian award.

Marmon's work has been widely shown in galleries and museums throughout the world. Some are in the permanent collection at the White House. In 2009, the University of New Mexico acquired Marmon's collection of more than 40,000
negatives and many of his last silver gelatin prints now belong to Acoma Pueblo. Through a special arrangement with Acoma, Albuquerque Photographers' Gallery in Old Town is thrilled to show and offer for sale these rare works of art that are among the last of his personally printed and signed photographs. The gallery will also offer works from Marmon's personal collection, including original silver gelatin prints of “White Man's Moccasins”, as well as several high quality posters. And now, some of his work is available for purchase on our website.

His daughter, the writer Leslie Marmon-Silko, once wrote of her father that he served, “the most ancient of Pueblo imperatives: to honor all beings, but especially our beloved ones, gone before us”. These are not snapshots, she added, but “lively plays between sunlight and shadow to reveal the precious and beloved outside of time”.

The Albuquerque Photographers' Gallery is located at 303 Romero Street, NW in Old Town Albuquerque and is New Mexico's preeminent gallery of contemporary photography. More information is available from the gallery's website,