Photographing for Santa Fe Living Treasures , and being part of the Living Treasures committee, is a great honor for me. This year, three amazing women were nominated and selected to join the ranks of Living Treasures. They are artists and activists who have changed the lives of all of us by what they give of themselves.

Jane Petchesky is an activist and environmentalist. She appreciates all things natural and wild. In 2009, Jane donated her ranch, 262 acres amidst increasing development, to the Forest Trust, and gave her home to the NM Land Conservancy for their state headquarters. The NM Land Conservancy, with their goals of protecting open spaces, are now settled and thriving in a beautiful place surrounded by four mountain ranges. Jane and her husband Gene raised quarter-horses on the ranch, up to 24 at a time. They both played a part in the founding of the Santa Fe Rodeo. Jane continues to be an active member of the Santa Fe community, engaged in water conservation and the natural flow of rivers.

Theo Raven is “the stuff fairy tales are made of”. “Theo is an artist of the soul. A beautiful monument and fixture in Santa Fe. She is the delicate birds nests she collects, she is the willowy aspens she fights to keep alive. And her dogs say grace.” Born in Santa Fe in 1931. Theo’s mother was a German immigrant who became governess for the grandchildren of Mabel Dodge Lujan. Theo and her mother opened Doodlet’s, a downtown Santa Fe “toy” store, together in 1955.

Shirley Minett “Be open to Life”…..this is Shirley Minett’s calling–through her daily artful existence she truly lives in love. A humanitarian of the highest order, with quiet wisdom and a positive outlook on life, Shirley opens her arms and heart to everyone, especially broken souls,– including the furry and feathered–anything with a heartbeat.

Join us in honoring them on Sunday, June 13th, at 2pm at the United Church of Santa Fe.

“Travel is fatal to bigotry, prejudice and narrow-mindedness.” – Mark Twain

I am really excited to share a new project in the works: The Bali Art Project Documentary Film.

A bit of background:
Through my work with Santa Fe Living Treasures, I learned about The Bali Art Project created by Gaylon Duke and Zenia Victor. The mission of the program: offer Santa Fe high-school juniors with limited financial means, the opportunity to experience the world beyond their borders. Now in it’s eleventh year, The Bali Art Project continues to inspire and transform the lives of young Americans, their families, and their communities.
“A new day has dawned for me. I have changed. The world has changed. Before, it was a very large globe with too many cultures and diverse realities for me to witness. Now, it is an infinite universe that I shall explore forever.” ~ Ben G., Bali Art Student, Personal Reflection, 2007

Zenia Victor & Gaylon Duke, Bali Art Project founders

In January, I began making The Bali Art Project Documentary Film to preserve and perpetuate the legacy of this amazing program and help tell the story of building global awareness and cultural understanding through travel. The candid, open, life-affirming journey for 8 students and 8 adults, will inspire us all to dream beyond our own realities, overcome the fears of travel and cultural barriers, and re-consider our beliefs, actions, and values in life.

The students were selected and January, and the last few months have been busy getting to know each other, studying Bahasa Indonesian, learning about the Hindu faith and spirituality, and writing their own fundraising letters to families and friends.

The trip is near! On May 26th we depart Albuquerque for Ubud, Bali, Indonesia. We return home to Santa Fe on June 27th.

2010 “Bali Kids”, left to right: Arianna, Sonja, Poqueen,Clark, Kreston, Rosse, Clay, Trey

You can support the project by BUYING a FINE-ART Print!
Pre-pay for a 6 x 9, 11 x 14, or 16 x 20 fine-art print and make a donation to the production of the Bali Art Project Documentary Film. The final image selection will include photographs from previous documentary projects + new selects from the Bali collection.

** The deadline for ordering and paying for prints is Friday, May 21st.
** Final image selection that will include a combination of work from previous projects and select images from Bali will be announced via email and viewable in an online gallery, July 16th.
** All images will be printed the week of August 9th, and mailed the middle to end of August.

** CLICK HERE to download more information and print sale details!

Go ahead! Support art, education, and youth travel!

Print Sizes and Prices
6 x 9 $65.00
11 x 14 $175.00
16 x 20 $295.00

A $15 shipping fee will automatically be added when paying by PayPal.

If you live in Santa Fe, use this button.

Print Sizes and Prices
6 x 9 $65.00
11 x 14 $175.00
16 x 20 $295.00

Or, consider a donation, any amount, small and large, is honored and greatly appreciated!

* Please note, tax-deductible donations can be made by sending a check to me and made out to the Bali Art Project, a 501(c)(3). If you would like your donation to be tax-deductible, email me for my mailing address,

“I want to see more, smell more, taste more, hear more, and feel more than I ever have in my life.” ~ Joe S., Bali Art Student, Personal Reflection, 2007

“For young Americans to “get” what it is like to live with few material amenities, yet with warmth, family and community support, art and rituals is a tremendous experience. The spirit of happiness was pervasive in Bali and our son, like others, returned with new optimism and perspective on what is always possible – a positive attitude.” ~ Judy G., Parent of Bali Art Student, Letter, 2009

Thanks for your support!

Nuestra Musica, Celebracion de los Viejitos, with La Familia Martinez, Frank McCulloch y Sus Amigos, La Familia Vigil con Cripriano Vigil, Los Garrapatas, and El Trio Jalapeño, will be playing at the Lensic Saturday, April 17th, at 7pm.

Roberto Martinez, Sr. and his family will be honored. An excerpt from our documentary, Los Reyes de Albuquerque y La Familia Martinez, will be screened.

16 Apr 2010

Curiosity is a wonderful quality. To be open and inspired to question an idea, a sound, a sighting of something foreign and take the time to engage and learn from that inquiry is the core of a rich human experience.
Last weekend, I traveled to Washington, DC with ceramic artist Christy Hengst and 30 of her porcelain birds. The birds, part of a temporary and traveling public art installation, had a date to “land” in various DC parks. On Thursday morning, March 18th, the flock touched down on the National Mall at sunrise. On Friday, they became another group of interest amongst the urban crowd that socializes on the benches and green of Dupont Circle. Sunday, the 21st, the birds held court next to the nation’s Capitol and watched as a few Tea Party protestors and thousands of immigrant rights demonstrators took their signs, flags and hopes to the steps of democracy.

The birds are completely still, yet their glowing white porcelain shape gestures with preoccupation. The birds stand alone and in groups grounded maybe from their own questions and observations written onto them in cobalt blue ink. On their backs are images of war and peace; newspaper clippings announcing the invasion of Iraq, descriptions and lists of varied missiles deployed, family snapshots, poems of peace, a love letter, a recipe for pound cake. Each of the “landings” had a very unique tone. On the Mall, businessman, tourists, groups of school children, runners and bikers out on commute, a field trip, a stroll, spot the birds from a distance, and are drawn to them. The kids came running trying to make the birds fly off, others were more cautious, everyone curious. In Dupont Circle we talked to peace activists and professors, musicians, lovers and friends, veterans and vagabonds hanging out in one of the cities best known outdoor “rooms”. To the side of the Capitol, the birds seemed to evoke their own protest, an understated “land-in”, in comparison to the thousands of marchers determined to make their voices heard by yelling chants and songs of unification into a loud speaker.

Christy explains, “this project is about me exploring ideas and beliefs about war, and on the other side, peace. It’s not about a single message. It’s not about taking sides. This project is putting it all [good and bad] on the same page. In some way, the birds hold the space as witness. The birds seem to be witnessing a lot of different sides of life, holding, in a way, all of these different choices that people have”.

Many people thanked Christy for bringing the birds to DC. Some were impressed by the intention and idea. Many had detailed questions about the process; working with silkscreening and porcelain. Others were touched by a poem they read, or an image they saw and really engaged in the War and Peace subject matter. Still others seemed just delighted by the surprise of a public art installation that graced their daily routine.

Laurence Woodson, a musician who plays regularly in Dupont Circle said, “Artists take the risk for the rest of us. By risk I mean, you’re looking at someone on a high wire and you’re just riveted because, my god they’re on a high wire and they could fall. Or, these birds – I get to see what you have to say about the world in this very interesting way. And, that gets it done for me, because I can’t or won’t make these porcelain birds and put them out here. And because you took that risk and it could suck, you could get ridiculed, you could be ignored. All of those things could happen when you take that risk. I think that’s one of the more interesting roles of art. Artists are also the one’s that provide the means by which we understand each other. Imagine for a second if there wasn’t music, or if there wasn’t art. Just imagine it. What would we be? How would we understand each other? How would we understand ourselves? Art is severely underestimated by most of us and taken for granted. It’s wildly important”.

I have never experienced art at work as I did being part of this project. I filmed clips from the landings and interviewed people who had strong reactions from the project. It was an amazing way to connect with people I would have not otherwise had the opportunity to talk to. The footage and a few photographs will become part of a larger documentary, being produced in Germany, about the project after the touring is complete, later this year.

I sincerely thank Christy Hengst for the opportunity to travel with her and the birds, and connect with people and art in a unique way.

For more information on the project, visit Christy’s website.
For the landing schedule, check out the Birds in the Park blog.

Other Links of Interest:
Link to WAMU radio piece by Rebecca Sheir.
The music of Laurence Woodson, singer / songwriter that you might find on a sunny day in Dupont Circle, Washington, DC
DC Environmental Film Festival

  • Melinda Russell - This is truly beautiful!! Also, who doesn’t like pound cake!!!

I just finished a week teaching one of my favorite classes at the Santa Fe Workshops. What a great class! There is nothing like meeting the excitement and anticipation of students who come to Santa Fe, NM from all over the country on a quest to connect with and document photographically the spirit of people and place.
Images © Photographing People Students

We focused on technical skills; from f/stops and shutter speeds to lens choice and lighting patterns. And, then we quickly moved to the heart of photography; how to find, engage and connect with the subject. These basic photographing people skills can be applied at home and around the world to make better and more meaningful images. Enjoy a look at their work! **Apologies for the technical glitch; unfortunately, the music cuts out after a bit.

Photographing People Class Work, March 2010 from StoryPortrait Media on Vimeo.

And, a glimpse behind the scenes:

I also want to acknowledge and thank my colleagues who shared some of their inspiration throughout the week. Alan M. Thornton, commercial and portrait photographer, talked about the importance of personal projects. Take a look at his Kurdish Portrait project here. Jane Phillips, photojournalist for the Santa Fe New Mexican, talked about building trust and capturing a story in one image. Visit her website to see her portfolio.

Thanks to fellow instructors Raul Touzon and David Robin. Raul has been a friend for a long time. He has supported and encouraged my career unconditionally and always livens up a Workshop week with light and fiestas.

Last, but certainly not least, a big thanks to the course coordinator, Memphis Barbree, assistant and photographer extraordinaire. Her black and white landscape work is stunning, her prints exceptional. She will be teaching an upcoming class at SFW this Fall, check out her work on her website.