Authors Speak Series Hosts Photographer and Author Don Usner


Mesa Public Library Art Gallery presents seventy remarkable photographic portraits by Don Usner of participants in the Lannan Foundation’s Readings and Conversations literary series of the last 15 years. All the portraits are black and white and eloquently reveal the personality of each author.

The exhibition is open to the public this month, and at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 21 Don Usner will be guest speaker for the monthly Authors Speak event. Both an author and photographer, he will discuss his experience meeting and photographing the Lannan authors as well as his own books.

The Library is presenting this exhibition along with a selection of books by each author and digital access in the gallery to podcasts and video casts of the events on the Lannan Foundation website, The exhibition is made possible with support from the Lannan Foundation and the Friends of Los Alamos County Libraries.

Celebrated native New Mexican photographer Don Usner has been making portraits of Lannan Foundation guest speakers since 1997. Usner has photographed hundreds of unique characters, capturing on film the personalities of famous writers, poets, Nobel Laureates and social justice activists. From Toni Morrison to Gore Vidal, Lawrence Ferlinghetti to Amy Goodman, and Susan Sontag to Robert Creeley and Cornel West, Usner’s subjects include many of the 20th century’s most celebrated thinkers.

Don Usner was born in Embudo, near Taos in 1957 and spent his youth in Los Alamos and Chimayó. His family has a long history in the Rio Grande Valley and its landscape and history have been a significant inspiration in his photography.

Usner’s work has been presented in several exhibitions and publications, including Sabino’s Map: Life in Chimayó’s Old Plaza and Route 66 On Tour: Legendary Architecture from Glenrio to Gallup.  His other publications include, with William de Buys, Valles Caldera: A Vision for New Mexico’s National Preserve, and a collection of folk tales told by his grandmother, Benigna’s Chimayó, Cuentos from the Old Plaza. Usner has served as Lannan Foundation’s official photographer since 1997. Visit his website at