The editorial categories are research topics that have guided researchers during the recovery phase and continue to be the impetus behind the Documents Project’s digital archive and the Critical Documents book series. Developed by the project’s Editorial Board, each of the teams analyzed this framework and adapted it to their local contexts in developing their research objectives and work plans during the Recovery Phase. Learn more on the Editorial Framework page.
Van Daren Coke provides a biographical sketch of New Mexico photographer John Candelario’s (1916–93) career, from his work as a correspondent for Life to the exhibition of his work at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1944. While Candelario documented Hispanics in New Mexico, Coke argues that the photographer, inspired by Ansel Adams and Edward Weston, remained more interested in creating artistically and technically accomplished images, rather than investigating the experiences of the Hispanos (New Mexican’s of Spanish and Mexican descent) and Indigenous peoples of northern New Mexico. He states that this is manifested in the texture and clarity of Candelario’s œuvre, as well as his deliberate compositions. Coke nonetheless argues, through reference to specific photographs, that the artist’s work never sacrifices sensitivity to his subjects for the sake of aesthetic criteria.
Van Daren Coke (1921–2004) was a photographer, historian of photography, curator, and the founding director of the University of New Mexico Art Museum in Albuquerque. He wrote this brief yet detailed essay for a catalogue of an exhibition he curated in 1993 at the University of New Mexico in Taos titled Three Generations of Hispanic Photographers Working in New Mexico. The exhibition focused on three Hispanic photographers of which John Candelario represents the “first generation” (active in the 1930s–40s). Both the exhibit and the catalogue offered important long overdue recognition of neglected Hispanic photographers in New Mexico.Though written in a very biographical format, Coke does provide an aesthetic framework with artistic reviews of specific photographs that underline his overall curatorial thesis: Candelario and his fellow photographers Cavalliere Ketchum and Miguel Gandert are quite brilliant photographers who approached their work with artistic, as well as documentary, intent. While it would have been helpful to posit Candelario’s work within the spectrum of other non-Hispanic photographers of that period, this essay is one of the few to focus on the art of New Mexico—in this case photographers—and to do so over a 50-year span (1940s–90s). For the essay on Miguel Gandert, see doc. no. 845409.