ABOUT THE EXHIBITION
Don Usner has spent decades documenting the history of Chimayó, in words and in photographs. When he began work on his Master’s thesis on the Plaza del Cerro in Chimayó, he realized that studying the plaza’s historic buildings without also portraying the people who inhabited them would produce nothing more than a discussion of “lifeless shells.” Accordingly, he recorded oral histories and commenced to take portraits of people from the plaza and throughout Chimayó. This show presents some of the many photographs he has produced in his continuing effort to celebrate and recount stories of Chimayó’s rich history.
ABOUT THE ARTIST/SPEAKER
Don Usner was born in Embudo, New Mexico, and grew up in Los Alamos and Chimayó. He holds a bachelor’s degree in biology and environmental studies from the University of California at Santa Cruz, and a master’s degree in geography at the University of New Mexico. He has authored and provided the photographs for several books, including The Natural History of Big Sur; Sabino’s Map: Life in Chimayó’s Old Plaza; Benigna’s Chimayó: Cuentos from the Old Plaza; Valles Caldera: A Vision for New Mexico’s National Preserve (winner of a Southwest Book Award in 1996); Chasing Dichos through Chimayó(a finalist for a 2015 New Mexico—Arizona Book Award); and Órale! Lowrider: Custom Made in New Mexico. Usner has also published articles and photographs in serial publications, and recent public exhibitions of Usner’s photography include prints in the show Lowriders, Hoppers, and Hot Rods: Car Culture of Northern New Mexico at the New Mexico History Museum; and in Con Cariño: Artists Inspired by Lowriders, at the New Mexico Museum of Art.
Usner teaches photography and works as a writer and photographer in Santa Fe as he cultivates his lifelong interest in cultural and natural history.