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May 17, 2009
2:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Photographer Laura Gilpin Comes to Life

New Mexico History Museum

Meet Laura Gilpin, circa 1954. A confident, ebullient woman in her early 60s, the Colorado native and Santa Fe resident packed in her equipment on horseback to photograph the source of the Rio Grande, did studio portraits for society matrons, directed pilots to "fly low" over Shiprock to capture the light and shadows from every possible angle. Laura Gilpin experimented with every subject and photographic technique for over fifty-five years before receiving widespread national recognition for it.

Deborah Blanche brings Miss Gilpin to life with a performance that includes a slide show with images from her first Lumiere color prints and those in her best-known book, The Enduring Navajo. She answers questions and tells some of the behind-the-camera stories about the photographic retrospective that parallels Gilpin's life.

Blanche has worked in theatre, storytelling, film, radio and TV since her teens. After completing a Master of Fine Arts Degree at the University of Oklahoma, she studied in Great Britain where a passion for "original" theatre production was ignited. Since that time, she has become best known for the one-woman plays, Chautauqua characters and storytelling programs that she researches, writes and performs locally, nationally and internationally. She also offers workshops, coaching sessions, and lecture-demonstrations related to her performances and theatrical skills.

Blanche's other chautauqua characters include Jeannette Rankin, the first woman elected to Congress; Elizabeth Bacon Custer (yes, wife of that Custer) and New Mexico author Erna Fergusson.

Through the Lens: Creating Santa Fe charts the development of the City Different through the work of many photographers over the decades. 

Since the 1850s, many of the most-recognized names in photography have focused their lenses in and on Santa Fe. Through their creative efforts, they have documented the city and its visual history, helping to create the mystique of Santa Fe. Photography has long been significant in the construction of notions of space and place, landscape and identity and, especially in Santa Fe, has helped define the geographical imagination. Both documentary and fine art photographers were drawn to the region’s land, its peoples, the regional architecture, and the quality of light found nowhere else in the world.

The project, curated by photographer and educator Krista Elrick and Palace of the Governors Curator of Photography Mary Anne Redding, showcases outstanding photographs that reveal the aesthetic excellence of the artists working in Santa Fe. While the images document the city, they have also been used, historically, as part of the marketing of the Santa Fe image and as a draw to other artists.  


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