Santa Fe the Hard Way

Luther and I just got back from Santa Fe, where Luther is part of a show called Past is Present at the David Richard Gallery. Below are some of his images hanging in the show, shot in Holland and Ojai, California.

“Instead of a Nude” 2015

“Crucifix” 2015

“With a Gentle Touch” 2015

“Giselle” 2013

“Broken Branches” 2012

“Nude in Sycamore Roots” 2012

We were looking forward to this opening for months - Santa Fe is one of our favorite places to visit, Luther has dear friends there, and the David Richard Gallery asked Luther to bring his traveling darkroom bus to do a wet plate demo, so we got to take a road trip! Sounds fun, right?

Well, 20 minutes out of town and we broke down - for the first time - no more AC. Two breakdowns later and we had serious doubts as to whether or not the bus would be able to take us the distance. Luckily, Luther approaches vehicular travel the same way he approaches his photography - with intensity and intimate knowledge of process, or in this case, mechanics. 

Through a combination of blood, sweat, and tears we made it in time and in tact for the opening and demo. I really wish I had pictures to share of our journey: Luther lying on hot gravel tinkering under the bus (which is where he seemed to be for the majority of the trip), driving through 115 degree heat with soaking wet paper towels strategically plopped on top of his head to keep his brain from cooking, me taking a swim fully clothed when we spotted access to a river in the middle of desert. But we were way too hot to think of taking pictures.

Instead, I leave you with a shot taken during the demo, during a brief and incomplete reprieve from our troubles (the AC still wasn’t working). Luther, standing upright, sans wet paper towel; the bus, unmoving, in the shade. A rapt crowd of wet plate enthusiasts. Who could ask for more?

by Sophie Philbrick

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