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.
After providing an overview of photographer Miguel Gandert’s (b. 1956) educational background, professional experience in photojournalism, and exhibition history, Van Daren Coke conducts a brief analysis of the artist’s photography as documentation of cultural conflict and continuity in New Mexico. Through a consideration of Gandert’s photographs of gang members, penitents, and Indo-Hispanos (individuals of mixed Hispano and Indigenous ethnicity), Coke argues that these images reveal the tension between resilient Hispanic traditions and dominant political and cultural forces in the state. He also suggests that by refusing to subordinate content to form or without sacrificing artistic intent, Gandert brings to light a close connection to his subjects and conveys an understanding of their collective experiences.
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 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 (along with photographers Cavalliere Ketchum and Gandert) are exceptional photographers that approached their trade with artistic, as well as documentary, intent. While it would have been helpful to posit Candelario’s œuvre 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 John Candelario, see doc. no. 845387.