GEORGE E. FOSTER JR. FAMILY GALLERY
THE TAOS PORTRAIT PROJECT
By Michael O’Shaughnessy
86 Photographs of Taos County Residents
(Exhibition runs February 1 - April 5)
An exhibition featuring contemporary photos of Taos residents will open at the Harwood Museum on Sunday, February 1, 1998 from 2:00 - 3:00 pm. The exhibition features 86 photographs by Michael O’Shaughnessy who is a book publisher and photographer living in Santa Fe. O’Shaughnessy, who studied Photography and Film at Columbia College in Chicago, has been the photographer for nine art books and cook books. He is the co-founder and publisher of Red Crane Books, established in 1989.
The Taos Photo Project was started at the suggestion of Dean Porter, director of the Snite Museum at the University of Notre Dame. Porter, whose museum was hosting the Harwood’s Patrociño Barela exhibition, asked O’Shaughnessy to create a photo exhibit about Taos for Midwestern viewers. O’Shaughnessy had planned to do landscape shots when he realized that the Taos area looked very different than it did when Barela last lived there over thirty years ago.
According to O’Shaughnessy, "I decided that while there have been changes over time in Taos, there were a great number of people whose creative talents and stubborn individualism have given Taos its special and unique character."
Starting in May 1997, O’Shaughnessy set up a portrait studio at the Harwood Museum where he did 44 portraits with a 4 x 5 camera. Not long afterward, he did a second round of photographs - 42 more - at the F.A.C.E.T. Gallery, also in Taos. The gallery owners and long-time participants in the Taos art scene, Steve and Debra Villalobos, worked on contacting and scheduling the many people who were photographed.
The resulting 16x20" cibachrome prints will be given to the portrait subjects at the Harwood opening on February 1st. A second set of photographs were printed in black and white. It is these which will be on display at the Harwood. They are Pyro prints, a technique made famous by Edward Weston in the 1930s. The prints have an exceptional tonal range using this process.
All materials created by the project will be donated to the Harwood Museum in honor of Mildred Tolbert whose gift of photography to the museum has been an invaluable resource for writers, historians and publishers.
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