New Mexico History Museum

History Museumís Photo Legacy Project Catalogs Santa Feanís Experience of Vietnam War

February 16, 2017


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Feb 16, 2017 (Santa Fe, NM)— There is no shortage of photographs documenting the horrors of the Vietnam War. In fact, between military photographers and the free press, millions of photographs of the Vietnam conflict were taken between 1962 and 1975. But, there are very few that document the war from the perspective of a young gay man serving in the United States Army. The New Mexico History Museum will display this unique perspective through the photographs of Santa Fean Herbert Lotz, acquired through the museum’s Photo Legacy Project in 2008. The exhibition, Sleeping During the Day: Vietnam 1968, will run from April 7 to October 1, 2017.

Against the backdrop of the Vietnam war, the photographs of Herbert Lotz humanize the men who served amidst the rising disillusionment that became the rallying point for the emerging counter-culture movement. As a gay man, his perspective of life on an Army base was the same as any other soldier doing his job, only Lotz documented it with his camera and poignant letters home.

Of the exhibition, Herbert Lotz says, “I have wanted to show these photographs for some time, I’m so grateful to the archives and history museum for the opportunity to show them.  It feels as if I can close a chapter of my work". 

Born and raised on a small farm town in Illinois, Herbert Lotz was drafted in his third year at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where he studied photography. He served as a radio operator in Vietnam in 1968 detached to the 25th Infantry Division at Cu Chi, the experience of which was to affect him the rest of his life, not unlike so many others of his generation. Lotz moved to Santa Fe in January 1970 unable to reenter his life in Chicago. Driving into Santa Fe from the north passing by the National Cemetery, Lotz felt he had found his new home but still struggled to deal with his wartime experiences. Unlike contemporary society’s view of military veterans, Vietnam vets were scorned and marginalized to the point most hid their service, suffering in silence. In 1981, Lotz finally came to terms with his experience and continues to work with the photographs he took in Vietnam.

The New Mexico History Museum
The New Mexico History Museum, 113 Lincoln Avenue, in Santa Fe, New Mexico, is part of a campus that includes the Palace of the Governors, the oldest continuously occupied public building in the United States; the Fray Angélico Chávez History Library; the Palace of the Governors Photo Archives; the Press at the Palace of the Governors; and the Native American Artisans Program. A division of the Department of Cultural Affairs. Museum exhibitions and programs supported by the Museum of New Mexico Foundation.

Related Photos

Autoportrait, Vietnam 1968
Troops at USO Show, Vietnam 1968

Back to Press Release List »