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Old 03-21-2009, 11:18 AM  
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Thumbs up Santa Fe- NM Photog to discuss his work in Film Museum lecture

Michael Berman discusses work in “Through the Lens” lecture
Berman has spent almost thirty years photographing the arid border regions of the American Southwest.
A recipient of a 2008 Guggenheim Memorial Foundation grant, Berman has spent almost thirty years photographing the arid border regions of the American Southwest.

SANTA FE – Join New Mexico photographer Michael P. Berman for a talk on the Chihuahuan Desert Project, the latest lecture in conjunction with the exhibition Through the Lens: Creating Santa Fe. Berman will speak at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 31, at the New Mexico Film Museum, 418 Montezuma Ave.

A recipient of a 2008 Guggenheim Memorial Foundation grant, Berman has spent almost thirty years photographing the arid border regions of the American Southwest. A resident of southern New Mexico, he is fascinated by the land and how people use and value it, an interest that developed from his background in biology. Berman says of the grasslands that he photographs:One of Berman’s photos from his grasslands project.
One of Berman’s photos from his grasslands project.

"For seven years I have photographed the lands that stretch from the Southeast corner of Arizona across New Mexico into the Big Bend of Texas and North of the Rio Conchos in Chihuahua. I call it the Chihuahuan Desert Project."
Artists have long contributed to a progressive shift in how we envision nature. Environmentalists now understand the critical role grasslands play for both the habitat of endemic flora and fauna and the corridors that connect the landscapes we have traditionally protected. And the people who have lived here for generations have a deep abiding love for this place. These photographs will be used to bring to together these communities and offer the larger culture a vision of the complexity of a living system.

Berman’s photographs are included in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Amon Carter Museum, the Harry Ranson Research Center, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, and the Museum of New Mexico. He has received numerous awards including a Visual Artist Fellowships from the Arizona Commission on the Arts, Wurlitzer Foundation, and the Southwest Center of the University of Arizona; his installations, photographs and paintings have been reviewed in Art in America, and exhibited throughout the country. He has published two books; Sunshot (University of Arizona Press, 2006), with text by Bill Broyles, and Inferno, with text by Charles Bowden (University of Texas Press, 2006). Both were named Southwest Books of the Year by the Pima County Public Library and Arizona Historical Society, and each was given a Southwest Book Award by the Border Regional Library Association of El Paso.

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 a particular place and its visual history. They helped create that "place" and 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, however malleable visual meaning may be, has helped define the geographical imagination.

Curated by photographer and educator Krista Elrick and Palace of the Governors Curator of Photography, Mary Anne Redding, Through the Lens examines the history of Santa Fe through the visual record created by internationally respected photographers. Through the Lens: Creating Santa Fe is on view at the Palace of the Governors through October 25, 2009.

The exhibition, lecture series, and publication of the companion book, Through the Lens: Creating Santa Fe, are sponsored by the Scanlan Family Foundation, Verve Gallery of Photography, New Mexico Council on Photography, New Mexico Humanities Council, Visual Arts Gallery at the Santa Fe Community College, Photography Department/Marion Center for Photographic Arts at the College of Santa Fe, Scheinbaum & Russek LTD., Santa Fe 400th Anniversary Partnership, Santa Fe Art Foundation, Andrew Smith Gallery, Museum of New Mexico Foundation, Palace Guard, Phyllis and Edward Gladden Endowment Fund, and the Women’s Board of the Museum of New Mexico.

For more information, contact Mary Anne Redding at 505.476.5026

The Palace of the Governors, built from 1609 to 1610, is the state’s original history museum for New Mexico and is housed in the oldest continuously occupied public building in the United States. The museum’s collection of more than 17,000 historical objects documents the Spanish Colonial, Mexican, American Territorial and recent eras in New Mexico history. Items date from the time of the earliest Spanish explorations in the 16th century and chronicle 223 years of Spanish administrative control, 25 years as part of Mexico, 66 years as a territory of the United States, and from statehood in 1912 to the present. The Palace also administers the Fray Angelico Chavez History Library and Photo Archives, The Palace Print Shop & Bindery, and the Portal Program. In 2009, the Palace of the Governors will be incorporated into the New Mexico History Museum, a 96,000-square-foot building, opening Memorial Day weekend.

The New Mexico History Museum/Palace of the Governors is a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs. The Museum is at 113 Lincoln Ave., just north of the Palace at 105 W. Palace Ave., on the Santa Fe Plaza. For more information, visit or



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