Museum of Indian Arts and Culture

Oblique Views: Archaeology, Photography, and Time

January 02, 2016


The story of the Southwest told through the aerial photographs of Charles and Anne Lindbergh and Adriel Heisey


(SANTA FE, July 7, 2015)—During 2007 and 2008, flying at alarmingly low altitudes and slow speeds, Adriel Heisey leaned out the door of his light plane, and holding his camera with both hands, re-photographed some of the Southwest’s most significant archaeological sites that Charles Lindbergh and his new bride Anne photographed in 1929.

For the first time in Oblique Views: Archaeology, Photography, and Time, large prints of Heisey’s stunning images will be paired directly with the Lindberghs’. The exhibition opens October 25, 2015 and runs through May 2017 at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture.

Archaeology Southwest, whose mission is to explore and protect the places of the past, originally conceived the Oblique Views project in 2004 as a preservation project to scan and protect the 198 deteriorating nitrate negatives of archaeological landscapes and sites shot by the Lindberghs, among the earliest aerial photographs of archaeological sites in the American Southwest. Intrigued by the changes those photographs revealed, they commissioned Heisey to recreate near-exact “now” images that correspond with the Lindberghs’ perspective, time of year, and time of day. Taking matching images of an original photograph at a later time illuminates the passage of time, much like the family that lines their kids against the fireplace for a yearly Christmas photo. To know when he had achieved the perfect reproduction, Heisey compared his image, shown on his laptop placed on the seat next to him in the plane’s cockpit, with photocopies of the target Lindbergh photos. The exhibition comprises seventeen pairings of photographs.

In this exhibition, the Lindberghs’ grainy black-and-white shots are a record of how the sites appeared before later excavations, development, or time altered them. Their images are an excellent yardstick for evaluating changes on many levels over the last eighty years, especially when viewed side-by-side with Heisey’s recent photographs.

As Oblique Views shows, aerial photographs reveal the connections between the varied elements of landscapes that can be difficult to perceive from the ground. They reveal how ancient people lived in the landscape and accessed resources, where they planted crops, and to a trained eye they also indicate walls, site structures, ditches, residences, and even footpaths. As exhibition curator Maxine McBrinn describes it in Oblique Views: Aerial Photography and Southwest Archaeology, which accompanies the exhibition,  “An Oblique View is taken from the side, a perspective that, especially when taken early or late in the day when shadows are long, emphasizes small differences in elevation and can make visible otherwise unseen roads, houses, or other site features.”

Linda Pierce, Deputy Director of Archaeology Southwest said, “By seeking and sharing commentary from Native Americans, landowners, archaeologists, and historians, among others, the Oblique Views exhibition conveys that landscapes are cultural as well as geological, imbued with history and memory.”

Oblique Views pairs large-scale then-and-now photographs that reveal the layers of civilization of the American Southwest—Native American, Spanish, Mexican, and ultimately Euro-American colonization and settlement—from a vantage point few of us will ever experience.

Oblique Views: Aerial Photography and Southwest Archaeology is published by the Museum of New Mexico Press. The Lindbergh aerial survey has never been published and is largely unknown to general audiences. Available at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture gift shop. 108 pages, 60 plates: 30 color and 30 duotone. $39.95

This exhibition has been made possible, in part, with a grant from the William and Salomé Scanlan Family Foundation.

Media Contacts:

Steve Cantrell, PR Manager


Maxine McBrinn, Ph.D., Curator of Archaeology




The Museum of Indian Arts and Culture is a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs.  Museum exhibitions and programs are supported by donors to the Museum of New Mexico Foundation and its Director’s Leadership Fund, Exhibitions Development Fund, and Fund for Museum Education.

Location: The Museum is located on Museum Hill at 710 Camino Lejo, Santa Fe, New Mexico, just off Old Santa Fe Trail.

For more information the public may contact: 505-476-1269 or visit the museum Web site

Museum Hours: November through April the museum is open Tuesdays - Sundays: 10am-5pm. May through October the museum is open 7 days a week 10am-5pm. The Museum is closed on Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day.

Admission: $6/New Mexico residents (Sundays free for NM residents); $9/non-residents; Museum Foundation members and children 16 and under are always free.

Directions to the museum:

Bus: The Santa Fe Trails “M” Bus route includes stops on and around Museum Hill. The bus originates downtown. Call 505-955-2001 for more information on City of Santa Fe Public Transportation routes, fares and services.

Car: From the Plaza area take Old Santa Fe Trail, bearing left when Old Santa Fe Trail and Old Pecos Trail divide. Follow signs to the museums and take a right onto Camino Lejo.

From I-25: Take the Old Pecos Trail exit and head north, towards town. Bear right when Old Pecos Trail and St. Michael’s Drive divide. Follow the signs to the museums and turn right (East) onto Camino Lejo.

About Archaeology Southwest

Archaeology Southwest is a private 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Tucson, Arizona, that explores and protects the places of our past across the American Southwest and Mexican Northwest. For three decades, Archaeology Southwest has practiced a holistic, conservation-based approach known as Preservation Archaeology. By exploring what makes a place special, sharing this knowledge in innovative ways, and enacting flexible site protection strategies, we foster meaningful connections to the past and respectfully safeguard its irreplaceable resources. Learn more at

About Museum Hill

Museum Hill in Santa Fe, New Mexico offers a central destination for exploring some of the city’s finest museums; the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, the Museum of International Folk Art, the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian, and the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art. The Santa Fe Botanical Garden is the newest cultural institution on Museum Hill. The museums also offer some of the best gift shops in town and Museum Hill Café is noted for priced-right lunches and refreshments. And you will find abundant free parking.




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