Documenting A Shifting Landscape

Untitled, 2004. Archival injet print on Hahnemuhle rag paper, 34 x 41 inches, edition of 7.

Photographer Debora Hunter’s research explores the modern world’s imprint on the iconic New Mexico landscape and the resulting social and environmental contradictions. Her latest study is “Land Marks: Photographs from Taos, New Mexico.”

She says about the documentary project she started in 2004: “I make portraits of houses – houses alone, in clusters and in the landscape. Each house is a metaphor for its inhabitants whose hopes, values and histories are written in adobe, wood, paint and peel. I photograph houses under construction, newly finished, in their prime, maintained, modified, deteriorated, abandoned and finally eroded.”

Hunter, associate professor of photography in Meadows School of the Arts, has taught classes at SMU-in-Taos for the past 13 years.

Photographs from her “Land Marks” portfolio were exhibited recently at James Kelly Contemporary in Santa Fe, New Mexico. While a Meadows student, gallery owner James Kelly ’79, ’84 took photography classes from Hunter. Her photographs also appear in an exhibit, “Contemplative Landscape,” at the New Mexico History Museum in Santa Fe. Museum Director Frances Levine earned a Master’s and a Ph.D. in anthropology from SMU.

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