Biographies/People (85)

Saturday, 06 April 2013 17:50

E. A. “Tony” Mares, PhD

Contributed by
E. A. “Tony” Mares, PhD, is a poet, historian, essayist, and fiction writer. His books include: The Unicorn Poem & Flowers and Songs of Sorrow West End Press);With the Eyes of a Raptor (Wings Press); and translations of Spanish poet Ángel González, (Wings Press, 2007). He co-authored, with Tomás Atencio and Miguel Montiel,Resolana: Emerging Chicano Dialogues on Community and Globalization (University of Arizona Press, 2009). His book of poetry,Conversations I Never Had With Patrociño Barela, was published in Fall, 2010 by University of New Mexico Press. 
from: Voices from the American Land

Tras La Ventana, El Amor

Tras la ventana, el amor
vestido de blanco, mira.
Mira a la tarde, que gira
sus luces y su color.

La begonia sin olor
sus verdes ojas estira
para mirar lo que mira
tras la ventana: el amor:
la primavera, surgida
del pico de un ruiseñor.

Through The Window,Love

Through the window, love
dressed in white, discerns.
It sees the afternoon, how it turns
its light and color.

The begonia with no fragrance
stretches its green leaves
to see what it can
through the window, sees love:
spring flowing
from the beak of a nightingale.

Casi Toda La Música and other poems/​Almost All the Music and other poems is the translator's tribute to Ángel González, one of the greatest Spanish poets (from Asturias) of the twentieth century. Ángel was a friend of mine for over thirty years. He worked with me on each of these poems that deal with love, mortality, and the immortality of music.
Saturday, 09 March 2013 02:27

Rina Swentzell: A New Mexico Treasure

Contributed by
Rina Swentzell , PhD, was born in Santa Clara Pueblo. She earned her B.A. in Education and her M.A. in Architecture from New Mexico Highlands University. She earned her Ph.D. in American Studies in 1982 from the University of New Mexico. Swentzell writes and lectures on the philosophical and cultural basis of the Pueblo world and its educational, artistic, and architectural expressions. Her writing appears in magazines, scholarly journals, and edited collections and she appears in video presentations for television and museums commenting upon Puebloan cultural values. She has been a consultant to a number of museums including Santa Fe’s Institute of American Indian Arts and the Smithsonian, and was a visiting lecturer at both Yale and Oxford in 1996. She has contributed to Lore of the Land as a board member and scholar since 2007.!

"Laura Gilpin (1891-1979) grew up in the West and always considered herself a Westerner. She said of herself, “I am definitely a westerner and I just have to be in the mountain country. It’s where I belong.” She was born on 22 April 1891 in Austin Bluffs, Colorado sixty-five miles from her parents isolated home, Horse Creek Ranch. Frank Gilpin, her father, had migrated from Philadelphia, in 1880, to help his brother Bernard run a new business venture, the Maryland Cattle Company. Frank soon shed his eastern polished persona and embraced the frontier life of the west. A disastrous winter in 1886 wiped out his brother’s business and sent Frank scrambling for work. This would begin a lifelong pattern of moving from one job to the other. Frank married Emma Gosler Miller in 1890. A family friend, she agreed to join Frank in Colorado, leaving the cultured urban world of Chicago for the wilds of the Rocky Mountains. 

"The Gilpins more or less lived around Colorado Springs called the “Little London of the West.” Frank worked on several cattle ranches, managed a hotel, and supervised the Lillie mine in Cripple Creek, an area renowned for its rich gold deposits. Despite the uncertainty of her family’s financial situation, Gilpin remembered her childhood fondly. She, her friends, and little brother Francis, grew up outdoors horseback riding and hiking. 

"Gilpin received her first camera for Christmas the year she turned 12. She immediately began chronicling all her experiences with her Brownie camera. She attended the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis, Missouri the next year as a guide for her mother’s friend Laura Perry, who could not see. Gilpin carefully explained all the exhibits to her companion but also took copious pictures. The replication of a Philippine Igorot village fascinated her the most. She snapped photos of the Igorot villagers attempting to carry on their traditional practices amongst the tourists at the fair. Gilpin often told interviewers later in life that this early experience in St. Louis sparked her interest in native peoples. 

"In 1905, Emma took her daughter and son to New York for a formal portrait sitting with the photographer Gertrude Käsebier. Käsebier joined Alfred Steiglitz’ Photo-Secessionist group at the turn of the century. Steiglitz single-handedly elevated photography to an art form through his connections to the avante guard modern art community in Europe and the U.S. Steiglitz and the Photo-Secessionists broke away from the New York Camera Club which associated with amateur and professional photographers alike. Käsebier eventually abandoned Stielglitz’ elite group of photographers and joined with the so-called pictorialists. Pictorial photographers rejected rarified art and embraced a professional working style that was somewhere in between art and amateur photography. Käsebier’s pictures were expressive and artistic—a sharp departure from the formal portraits of the 19th century. Meeting Käsebier left a lasting impression on Gilpin. When she made a decision to pursue a career in photography she approached the famous photographer for advice. They would develop a lasting friendship. 

"Gilpin’s mother insisted on a formal education for her daughter. From 1905 to 1910, Laura attended various private schools in the east. First, Gilpin spent time at Baldwin’s School in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, followed by a stint at the Rosemary Hall School in Greenwich, Connecticut. In the hopes that Gilpin would develop her interest in the violin, her mother then sent her to the New England Conservatory of Music. However, a downturn in the family fortunes and mediocre talent cut short her music education. 

"Gilpin returned home to Colorado in 1911. Her father had moved the family to an 1800-acre ranch in Austin, Colorado. Gilpin kept taking photos but also started a poultry business. She bought some turkey chicks, built pens, developed a special feed, killed and dressed them, and sold them to gourmet restaurants. A Denver paper reported on the phenomenal success of her business, “Society Girl Raises 400 Turkey’s.” She sold her business for $10,000; enough money that she could lend her perpetually insolvent father 9,000 to keep the family afloat and finance a professional education in photography. 

"In 1916, Gilpin left again for the east to attend the Clarence H. White School in New York, a program recommended to her by Käsebier. She roomed with sculptor Brenda Putnam and two other artists in the city. She and Putnam became lifelong friends, often critiquing and supporting each other’s work. Clarence White, influenced by Arthur Wesley Dow, opposed the Steiglitz School of photography and promoted the technical aspects of photography. White self-consciously trained his students in professional and commercial photography. Like Dow, he stressed good composition and the importance of an artist’s feelings and expression. Gilpin loved the school and threw herself into her work with a passion. Gilpin learned how to make hand-coated platinum paper. Later, she bought it from a special London company. She was one of a select few photographers in America that used it. Platinum paper allowed for a rich velvety black and a wide tonal range. The process of hand-coating platinum paper, which Gilpin continued to do well into the 1970s was considered a dying art. 

"In 1917, she published her first widely circulated photo, The Prelude, a publicity photo of the Edith Rubel Trio, a musical group she herself played in with a roommate. Gilpin thought of herself as a straight photographer. She composed photos through the lens and printed whatever she captured on the negative. Although she used a soft-focus for this piece, she did not employ the techniques of early pictorialists, like hand manipulation of the negative. Eventually, she would also abandon a soft focus and opt for a sharp-edged image for her photos. 

"In 1918, a serious bout of influenza ended her formal training. Gilpin went back home to recuperate. Her mother hired a young nurse, Elizabeth Forster, from the Colorado Springs Visiting Nursing Association to help with her convalescence. The two young women became fast friends, finding in one another not just common interests and camaraderie but a deeper sentiment and sensibility. Gilpin and Forster were inseparable, often seen together at events in Colorado Springs. They visited one another’s families, camped together throughout the Southwest, and bought property together later in life. 

"After her recovery, Gilpin took up the life of a professional photographer in Colorado Springs. In 1919, she became affiliated with the Broadmoor Art Academy, starting a class in photography in 1921. Like Käsebier, Gilpin primarily made a living taking portraits. She wrote clever brochures about her work that educated the potential client to the new style of photography. She also took commercial photography assignments—promotional brochures, photo-documentation for architectural firms, and small booklets of photos for tourists. During the 1920s, Gilpin’s work began to receive critical acclaim in exhibitions both at home an abroad. She exhibited at the Photographic Salon in Copenhagen and the International Exhibition of London Salon Photography. She also had her first one-woman show of sixty-one photographs, both portraits and landscapes, at the Broadmoor Art Academy in Colorado Springs. This show also toured the Museum of New Mexico in Santa Fe and the Denver Public Library. She also exhibited work in Buffalo, Pittsburg, San Francisco, Toronto, Seattle, and New York. 

"A 1924, camping trip with Forster and Putnam deeply impressed her with the beauty and timelessness of the Southwestern landscape and its people. Another excursion with Forster in 1930 gave Gilpin an entrée into Navaho society that would allow her to pursue this interest further. The two women ran out of gas twenty miles north of Chinle in a remote part of the Navaho reservation. They were befriended and helped by several Navaho families. This led to Forster’s invitation to return the following year to work as a visiting nurse for the New Mexico Association for Indian Affairs on the New Mexico portion of the Navaho Reservation. The Navaho accepted Forster and appreciated her ministrations. They nicknamed her Asdzáá Báhózhóní, the Happy or Contended One. Gilpin visited Forster frequently in Red Rock and accompanied her on her rounds. Because of her status as the nurse’s friend, she photographed the

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